Spring Has Sprung – With Fresh Peas and Ham
By Cheryl Forberg, RD
Living in California, I am quite spoiled with the luxury of easy access to fruits and vegetables. We can find most of them any time of year, whether from our own gardens, or shipped in from a grower in a distant land. Nonetheless, there are a few things I really prefer ultra-fresh, and one of those is local springtime peas.
The sweetness of super fresh peas is incomparable, and I especially enjoy them in the spring. That’s not only because they’re tender, sweet and perfectly delicious, but also because I have so many fond memories of my grandmothers, shucking peas from the aprons in their laps in their kitchens in Wisconsin. Whether throwing a handful into a steaming pot of chicken and dumplings, or a simple sauté served with a cherished meatloaf recipe, peas are sentimental in our family.
I truly believe when you have high quality ingredients, the simpler your recipes can be. Preparing this simple dish is a harbinger of Spring at our house. I usually serve this recipe as is, with roast chicken. Other times I make a simple pasta dish with a big splash of cream and handful of cheese and stir in Garden Peas with Ham for a quick and scrumptious rendition of Pasta Carbonara. Hope you enjoy it!
Note: 1 ½ pounds of sweet peas in the pod = approx. 2 cups shucked peas
Garden Peas with Ham
Makes 6 servings
The natural sweetness of fresh peas requires little adorning. Unless you are shucking the peas yourself, the recipe takes minutes to prepare. Perfect with Sunday night roast chicken.
1 - 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
¼ cup finely diced ham or prosciutto
3 pounds fresh peas, shelled or 1-pound frozen peas, thawed
Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add ham and peas and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add a splash of water or broth if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.