Two words, all caps: SUGAR SNAPS!
Last week, I was talking to Farmer Sam as I picked up my CSA share (see below for more on that) and I remarked on their neat and tidy peas climbing so sweetly up their poles: “English peas? Do you guys have sugar snaps, too?” Sam said that his partner, Erin, won’t grow sugar snap peas because she doesn’t like them. He mumbled something about them being a “cop-out,” I believe. Or that she didn’t like the flavor. Hrumph! Erin is a true gourmand, so I shan’t doubt the righteousness of her palate, but how a person can like English (shelling) peas over rough & ready sugar snaps is beyond me. (I’ve long suspected that she’s more sophisticated than me, and this perhaps proves it!)
Shelling all those little pods is akin to working with fava beans, to be honest: nice work, but not if you’re cooking for 20 families. I’m not ashamed to admit that I used great, freshly picked, organic frozen peas in last week’s peas and carrots dish: I actually like them more than fresh peas, because (insane amounts of shelling required not withstanding), it seems to me that unless they are literally hours old, English peas always taste a little carbohydrate-y to me. More dense than vegetal, in a way.
So it is with pleasure that I embrace the sugar snap pea: never needs shelling, only stringing (and when I’m eating them for myself alone [and sugar snaps are one of those veggies that I tend to gorge on until I get a stomach ache when I get the first batch of them of the season, because I apparently cannot be trusted to be alone with vegetables.] I don’t even do that), and they somehow taste more green to me.
In truth, I’m excited to taste Erin & Sam’s peas, because I’m sure they will be great and might even change my opinion of the shelling pea world. But! All this buildup is really just to get you excited for the fact that Sunday I’ll be picking up a big box of sugar snaps from Pete Taliaferro. Yay! I see stomach aches in my future! The ones I don’t eat raw will be going into the Farrotto, which is a Tuscan dish somewhat like risotto, but made with farro, a whole grain akin to wheat berries.
I’ve also got more baby carrots, succulent swiss chard and other greens for the creamed greens side, lots upon lots of local shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and more, all arriving soon…oh, June! You’re too good to us grumpy old cooks.
The full menu, just let me know if you’d like to order:
- Wide rice noodles with southeast Asian pesto, smoked tofu, and fresh broccoli and red peppers — a very nice, light, fresh-tasting noodle dish. There aren’t enough of those in the world, don’t you think?
- Grilled shiitake mushrooms and greens with ginger and scallions — in which I break out the grill pan. Charred local scallions plus rich, deeply-flavored shiitakes. Yum yum.
- Farrotto (Tuscan risotto made with farro) with artichokes and seasonal vegetables — and sugar snap peas!
- Satiny creamed local greens — sublime, especially if you crave greens like I do.
- Creole sautéed mushrooms and kidney beans with housemade seitan sausage –a great family meal.
- Pecan dirty rice — the New Orleans classic, only, you know, healthier!
- Soup: Roasted red pepper soup with basil cream — smooth and creamy, with homegrown basil.
- Salad dressing: Romesco vinaigrette — an all time favorite. Nutty, rich with roasted almonds, roasted red peppers, lemon juice, and more. More of a sauce than a vinaigrette, really.