SLICE OF LIFE
The High Holidays always have us scrambling for that one "extra" side dish. You know the one I'm talking about, the one for the cousin who won't eat red meat or your daughter's vegan girlfriend. It's the one that if you add it to your menu you won't feel as if you'll have enough for anyone who shows up at the last minute to join your yontif meal.
Taking my cue from the land of fairy tales, I can assure you that there's always a happy ending when you choose to use peas in any recipe. Peas are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, foliate, thiamine (B1), iron and phosphorus. They are also rich in protein, carbohydrate and fiber as well as being chock full of antioxidants.
There are three types of peas available to consumers looking to score a fresh veggie. Garden peas (the kind you have to shuck and would probably prefer to buy frozen or in the can) have rounded pods that are somewhat curved and smooth and are a vivid green in color. When you buy fresh garden peas, look for ones whose pods are firm and smooth (not puffy). Whereas when you go to purchase snow peas you want pods that are flat. Choose the smaller ones as they seem to be just a tad sweeter. With both types of peas the pods should "snap" when you open or break them.
Garden peas are, when you can find them, usually available from late spring through early winter. Snow peas and snap peas are usually available throughout the year. Canned peas and frozen peas and peapods are always available but for the sweetest, crunchiest, freshest taste around, always go fresh.
Chicken With Artichokes and Pea Pods
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 and 1/2 tsps. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
3 tsps. flour
1 Tbsp. flour
1 and 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. sugar snap peas, cut in half (2 cups)
1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed
3 Tbsps. minced fresh chives or tarragon
2 tsps. rice wine vinegar
In a bowl, combine the broth, mustard, salt and 3 teaspoons of flour. Whisk to combine.
Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tablespoon flour. Heat oil in a skillet and cook the chicken for about 2 minutes per side; don't overcook. Remove the chicken from the pan but don't clean the pan.
Pour the broth mixture into the pan and stir for 1 minute to loosen any pieces stuck to the pan. Add the snap peas and artichoke hearts. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Keep the mixture at a simmer, not a boil, and cook for about 4 minutes.
Place the chicken pieces back in the pan and mix to coat and combine. Continue to simmer and stir until the mixture is heated throughout. Add the pepper, chives or tarragon and vinegar, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning the way you like it. Serve with toasted almonds sprinkled on top.
Itty Bitty Pea Bites
1 loaf French bread
1 package (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 Tbsps. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
sliced fresh radish or red pepper
Slice the French bread into 1/2-inch rounds. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and toast them them until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peas, dill, green onions, oil, salt and pepper. Process until smooth with some lumps in it (you can pick the consistency you like and season to taste with other herbs, if you don't like dill).
Spread the pea mixture on the rounds and top with a little fresh dill and a slice of radish or red pepper.
Makes about 15 to 16 pieces. This can be doubled.
Classic Pea Salad
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 head washed Boston or Bibb lettuce, torn
1/2 cup chopped fresh celery
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup imitation "bacon bits"
1/2 cup salted cashews or sunflower seeds (shelled)
1 package (10 oz.) frozen tiny peas (thawed)
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, celery, green onion, bacos, cashews and peas. Toss to combine. Add the dressing, then toss to coat.
Potato and Pea Chicken Salad
1 to 1 and 1/2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 cups fresh snap peas
2-3 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
2-3 Tbsps. olive oil
1 and 1/2 to 2 Tbsps. apple cider or rice wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsps. tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
Place the potatoes in large saucepan. Cover them with cold water and bring the water to boil. Immediately reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the snap peas to the potatoes for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until peas are tender. Drain the potatoes and peas well but don't rinse them.
Place the potatoes and peas in a bowl and add the chicken, pepper and onion. Mix gently to combine. Add the olive oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Mix to combine.
Pea and Corn Salad
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 and 1/3 Tbsps. sesame oil
2 tsps. oil
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 and 1/2 tsps. sugar
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups fresh pea pods, blanched and drained
4 cups Chinese cabbage or 4 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 and 1/3 cups baby spinach
4 ears fresh corn, removed from the husk
2/3 cup sliced red or daikon radishes
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 and 1/2 tsps. grated fresh ginger
1 cup enoki or sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 tsps. sunflower seeds
In a bowl combine the vinegar, sesame oil, oil, chili flakes and sugar and whisk to combine. Set the dressing aside.
In a large salad bowl combine the pea pods, cabbage, spinach, corn, radishes, red onion and ginger. Mix to combine.
Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat. Top the salad with mushrooms and sunflower seeds.
Serves 6 to 8.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance food writer and the author of Perfectly Pareve.