I’ve just harvested a basket of the peas I planted in my unheated greenhouse back in February. The variety is called “Coral;” planted outside in spring, they take about two months to produce ripe peas, rather than the three months this batch took.
One nice thing about greenhouse peas is that they get big enough before the sparrows find them that I don’t have to cover them for protection. It took me years to figure out it was sparrows not woodchucks who were eating my newly sprouted peas down to nubs. I had no idea the little beggars could be so destructive.
Here’s my favorite way to eat fresh peas: hot from the grill. No need to shell them; diners will do that for themselves. Try serving them as an appetizer while dinner is cooking on the grill. They’re delicious on a warm evening alongside cold, locally brewed ale or with the slightly fizzy, pale green Portugese wine known as Vino Verde. Just be sure to leave a bowl out for the empty pods.
(serves 8 as an appetizer)
- 2 lbs. fresh peas in the shell
Wash the peas and let them sit in a bowl of cold water. If the pods are long enough, you can lay them carefully directly onto the grill; otherwise place them in a single layer in a grill basket made for vegetables (you can also use a grill pan on the stove, if cooking indoors). When the peas have grill marks on one side, (this will take two or three minutes), turn the peas and grill on the other side.
￼When they’re bright green and steaming (some might pop open), drop them into a bowl and serve. Leave a small pair of scissors or knife out to help guests who don’t want to get too messy snip off the stem-end of the peas (I, glutton that I am, use my teeth). Once the stem is off, simply unzip the string that runs down the pod, and slurp up the hot peas.