Fresh and Strange

Well, I suppose I can’t really call it fresh.  The peas are frozen, after all.  But it definitely strange.  And it’s even more definitely good

The other week I checked a new cookbook called The Breakaway Chef out of the library.  Some of the recipes were a little too esoteric for me, but I marked several and those thus far tried have produced good results. 

I took note of one recipe in particular–Baked Peas with Yogurt, Tarragon and Pistachios.  I grow oodles of herbs every summer, and I never use as much of them as I would like, mostly because very few recipes are ever written for the more unusual ones, like tarragon.  (I can’t eat tarragon-chicken-salad EVERY day, and it turns out that I don’t really like tarragon in devilled eggs, and it kind of gets lost as part of a salad).  In any case, this recipe calls for mixing frozen (thawed) peas with chopped tarragon, scallions, salted pistachios, olive oil and a little Greek yogurt, then baking it at a very high temperature for 15 minutes, until the top of the mixture starts to brown.  I couldn’t really taste the imaginary result, but the use of tarragon made me remember it.

I planned to make the peas for dinner some night, as a side dish, but today I found myself alone for lunch, with an unexpectedly small meal planned.  Greek yogurt and scallions are staples in this house, and frozen peas can usually be found lurking in one of the freezers, so I kludged together a much reduced version of the original recipe and threw it in the oven while I worked on something else.

It was really very tasty.  I can’t describe the finished dish evocatively because it isn’t like anything else.  BUT: the sweetness of the peas and the pistachios went very well together, with the salt on the pistachios making them seem almost sweeter.  The yogurt made the dish creamy without making it rich, and the scallions and tarragon provided a subtle, grassy layer next to the falvors of the peas and nuts. 

It was nice; I wish I’d made it for more people than just me.  (And hopefully Richard Wilbur will forgive me for quoting his wonderful poem in the title of an essay about frozen peas).

Published in: on September 2, 2007 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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