In Season: Shell Peas

I love walking through farmers markets to see what’s in season, and I always seem to discover new things.  On a recent one-night get-away, my husband and I stumbled upon a farmers market which was in full swing that Saturday morning.  We tried gooseberries, homemade ricotta cheese made from sheep’s milk and handmade peanut butter.  It’s also pea season, and one farm was selling almost exclusively peas.  Sugar snaps and shell peas.  Sugar snaps are completely edible, pod and all.  Shell peas need to be, well, shelled, but if you are patient, are a real treat. 

I was recently having lunch with girlfriends at one of my new favorite restaurants here in Connecticut, which locally sources just about all it’s food.  I had a pasta carbonara dish with fresh shell peas that just about made me weep with happiness.  Ever since, I’ve been pazzo for peas.  When I spotted them at the market, I grabbed a big bag to bring home to my kids.

It took me awhile to shell the entire bag, but I then had to stop myself from eating the entire bowl!  Raw, they are crunchy and sweet and delicious.  Saute them with a little butter and salt and they make a fabulous side for any meal.  Add a touch of fresh mint and you have something extraordinary.  Toss them with pasta (as I had at the restaurant), or into a salad or fritata and you’ll forget how long it took to shell them!  It’s the season—take advantage of the bounty!

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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