Peas in a Puddle
Besides ice cream, Thomas Jefferson had a passion for peas. He was quite competitive about his pea-growing. So in his honor, a pea recipe:
Peas in a puddle of milk
2 cups shelled English peas or fat shelled sugar snap peas
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup milk (approx.)
sprigs of mint
salt and pepper
Shell peas. Melt butter in a pan over low heat. Add peas, and roll around in butter until they turn bright green. Add enough milk to float peas. Season with salt and pepper; scrunch up a sprig or 2 of mint and add that too. Simmer gently, stirring, until peas are tender but still nice and green. Spoon peas into a serving dish or individual bowls, leaving milk in pan. Bring milk back to a simmer and reduce it a tad, stirring often – watch it doesn’t boil. Remove tired mint, and check seasoning. Pour creamy milk around peas and tuck in a few fresh mint leaves. Serves 4. Nice with new potatoes to sop up the milky pea juices.
Variation: Save pea shells to infuse milk. Put empty pods in a pan with milk, bruised mint, a sliver of onion, a little salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes, until pods start softening. Cut heat under pan, let milk cool a bit before straining, then use to cook peas as above. Since milk is pre-seasoned and mint-infused, you can skip adding extra mint to the pan of peas, unless you really have a thing for mint. As always, taste before seasoning.