The English have a reputation they don't appreciate, one for "bad food". But British blogger Becks & Posh is out to disprove that idea and asked for help. I've had plenty of good food in England, in pubs along the Inland Waterways, in restaurants and hotels in London, in country hotels further north, but especially in the home of my grandfather's cousin, our family's much loved Lyla, and her now-deceased husband Vic , who were married for a few days short of 62 years and were still giggling with stories about their wedding night the last time I saw them and we had lunch at a small restaurant near the train station a corner from the church where they were married. So there's no need to convince ME.
But I've taken the occasion of Fish & Quips to try an easy and spring-ish side dish, just peas with a bit of onion and fresh mint. Very good! Thanks, Sam, for reason to experiment with an English traditional vegetable! It's a keeper!
What are English peas? Well, they're the common garden pea, what we find in bags in the freezer section, what we likely call "green peas" or just plain ol' "peas". Unless you grow your own, the best peas you'll find are likely in the freezer section of the supermarket. This is because peas deteriorate VERY quickly after picking. In my long-ago 'farm' days, the objective was to pick and shell the peas, timed to put them on the table within 30 minutes. No farmers market can match that.
- Just the cooked onion added a lot to otherwise "plain peas". And because I both cooked the onion and the peas in the same skillet, clean-up was easy too.
- Salt is important: don't skimp unless you must.
- More butter would be wonderful ... of course. Inspiring recipes used as much as 8 tablespoons. YIKES.
- No fresh mint? Try lemon zest or fresh dill or fresh basil.
FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box's has plenty of easy recipes for peas.
TWO YEARS AGO Green Beans with Basil ... On Day 19, already forecasting the possibility of A Veggie Venture continuing through the summer, "this has some essence of what summer should taste like"
FAVORITE ENGLISH FOOD BLOGS
Becks & Posh The irrepressible Sam, living in California
Albion Cooks Catherine, also living in California
The Great Big Vegetable Adventure Ten-year old Freddie explores vegetables one letter at a time
Daydream Delicious Citizen-of-the-world Bonnie lives in Cambridge
Real Epicurean Scott who's English, with his wife Gosia, who's Polish
Cherry's English Kitchen 'Home cooking & seasonal recipes from the heart of Pixie Wood'
Baking for Britain Anna in London
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ENGLISH PEAS with FRESH MINT
Time to table: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 of a white onion, diced small
16 ounces frozen peas
Couple tablespoons of water
Salt to taste
Fresh mint leaves, chopped
Add'l butter (I used just 1 more tablespoon)
In a large skillet that can be covered, melt the butter on MEDIUM till shimmery. Add the onion as it's prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, til onion is nearly cooked but not browning. Add the peas, water and salt to taste, stir to break up clumps of peas. Cover and let cook til peas are done, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Once peas are nearly cooked, uncover and let liquid cook off (or drain, if you like). Add mint and stir through. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you do this BEFORE adding more fat, you might choose not to add more.) Serve immediately.