Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring Peas with Mint

I'd rather have minty fresh peas than minty fresh breath.
And if it weren’t for the onion, I would have had both. But who needs friends when you can have these delicious peas?

I adapted this Mario Batali recipe from his new book, Molto Gusto, Easy Italian Cooking at Home. Of course, by “adapted” I mean I was too lazy to go exactly by the recipe since 1) That would involve measurements, 2) I had some fava beans I wanted to use up, so I threw them in (I recommend only using peas as in the original recipe), and 3) I didn’t have the sparkling water he called for in the vinaigrette.

I caught up with Mario here in L.A. recently and I asked him what the sparkling water was for. He said curtly, without a sliver of a smile, “It’s to keep the peas crisp.” Well, that might explain why mine seemed a little slimy the next day (but it didn't explain why Mario did—but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post to come). You can try the soda water and see if it gives the peas a longer shelf life, but without it, I wouldn't serve this later than about 12 hours after making it. But those peas in their prime? Wow-ie wow wow! Who knew so few ingredients could be so loud? Each one screams of flavor, and you’ll want to shout a big yum right back at 'em. What's a little onion breath among your new friends?


2 pounds peas in the pod, shelled, or 2 cups fresh peas

1 medium red onion, cut into dice about the same size as the peas. I used less onion. Taste onion first to see how strong it is, and then eyeball it.

½ bunch fresh mint, leaves removed and torn into 2 or 3 pieces each. I used less mint. You can eyeball it.

¼ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Combine the peas, onion, and mint in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The peas can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before serving.)

Red Wine Vinaigrette

¼ cup red wine vinegar, preferably Chianti

¼ cup sparkling water I omitted this and didn't notice its absence.

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian

Whisk the vinegar, water, and olive oil together in a small bowl. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)


  1. Love your description of this as "loud", I know just what you mean. And I also know I would *love* this dish! Peas and mint are a match made in heaven. Yum!

    Also, I'm chuckling at your Mario B. comments, and will await the future post! ;)

  2. Snap. I ain't talking about peas. Great pics! Lovely WB.

  3. Thanks, Diva!

    Andrea, I took these pics before camp, and you can see the blue light. Aargh!

  4. This is a classic combination that makes me smile. You have intrigued me with the "coming soon" reference. Guess I'll have to visit again "soon". Was that all part of your plot? GREG

  5. That pea dish looks good but what is even better is your encounter with the grand ole Mr Battali

  6. well I never thought he was sympatico; maybe his cooking is good; well, dear Adair, I am going to be traveling, so i will catch up with you later! Ciao.