Wednesday, August 6, 2008

35. Peas with Spinach and Shallots (p. 555)

I just love this picture. You can actually see the steam rising off the dish. And if you try really hard, you might even be able to smell the buttery shallot-and-garlic-scented aroma. (Ouch! I think I just hurt my arm patting myself on the back.) But seriously, folks, this was one tasty side dish.

I've always been a fan of peas. Frozen ones, that is. (Don't get me started on canned peas. Yeah, sure, they come in a spiffy silver can and have a fancy French-sounding name. But none of that changes the fact that they're mushy and have that dingy-looking army-green color.) And while I used to think that frozen peas were low-brow, I've recently been gratified to learn that many of the pea recipes in The Book allow for frozen peas as a substitute for fresh, and in some cases, even call for them specifically. And while it seems like the "foodie" thing to do to use only fresh peas, let's face it, sometimes there just not that good. They can be hard, dry and mealy. So, for me, it's frozen peas.

Now, I like peas on their own just fine, but this recipe was just the thing to take them to the next level. And it couldn't be easier to make. Start by melting one tablespoon of butter in a 12-inch skillet. (Kudos to the folks at Gourmet for using a sensible amount of butter in this recipe. It's easy for recipe writers to go all "Paula Deen," and put a whole stick of butter in every dish just 'cause. But here, the one tablespoon of butter was just enough to give the dish a pleasant buttery flavor without making it too rich or seem like the peas were floating in butter.) Quickly cook some sliced garlic and shallots. (Or "charlottes" as the cashier at Stop-and-Shop called them. That's another point for me in "Stump The Cashier.") Throw in the frozen peas and a little bit of water, cover and cook for a few minutes. Then stir in the baby spinach until just wilted. That's it.

For some reason, I felt compelled to follow this recipe precisely as it was written. The recipe calls for 10 ounces of frozen peas and 5 ounces of baby spinach. I bought a 16 ounce package of peas and a 6 ounce package of spinach and carefully weighed out the required amounts and packed away the rest. No need to be so persnickety here. The next time I make this, and I will make it again, I'll just throw in the whole package of peas and spinach.

Date Cooked: August 3, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: A

1 comment:

Kiki said...

This rivals Mom's LeSeur Peas and Onion sauté any day. And almost as good as Mom's LeSeur Peas and Breadcrumb sauté. What can I say -- Mom had a thing for baby peas in a can!