Five Dishes Featuring Spring Peas

Categories: Recipes

Photo by jules:stonesoup
Make tasty dishes with these bright spring peas.
Last week we wrote about the spring produce you should be buying at farmers' markets and grocery stores. The spring season brings lots of bright, fresh fruits and vegetables, but a special veggie seems to stand out as one of the most popular ingredients for in-season recipes: spring peas.

One of my most favorite meals features peas as a simple side with a warm baked sweet potato and chicken coated in Panko crumbs. There's nothing special about it, but the combination of salty peas, buttery sweet potato and moist chicken makes me feel right at home. While it is perfectly acceptable (and scrumptious) to make spring peas as a plain side dish, there are more inventive ways to use the in-season produce. Here are five scrumptious recipes featuring the tender veggies.

Spring Peas Salad

Sometimes you grow tired of plain salads with crunchy Romaine or Bibb lettuce, so create a different type of salad this spring by incorporating soft English peas -- they add varying texture. Boil the shelled peas to soften, then toss with cooked pearl onions or finely diced shallots (they're sweeter than white onions), pine nuts, spinach and mint leaves. This Real Simple recipe uses mint, which brightens up the peas and adds a refreshing scent to the entire salad. For more crunch, try adding radishes, as this Epicurious recipe calls for. Drizzle a lemon juice vinaigrette, or a simple olive oil and honey dressing, for more sweetness. Top with crumbled feta or goat cheese.

Photo by jules:stonesoup
Top crusty bread slices with smashed peas and Parmesan cheese.

Smashed Peas Crostini

Who says bruschetta or crostini should be topped with mozzarella and diced tomatoes only? Drizzle olive oil on top of baguette slices, season with salt and pepper, then bake in an oven until nice and crispy. Soften the spring peas by boiling them in salted water, then once they are cooked and tender, smash them slightly and mix with olive oil, mint and a dash of lemon zest (or just add a splash of lemon juice); you can also toss the peas with grated Parmesan, or simply mix with fresh mint as in this recipe from Real Simple. Place a piece of prosciutto on each baguette slice for saltiness, then top with a scoop of the smashed peas.

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Yum!  I'll definitely be making the crostini and risotto recipes!  The risotto reminds me of my BLT risotto made with bacon, spinach and grape tomatoes.

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