In late Spring, you may be lucky enough to find fresh English peas in the market. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to taste peas fresh instead of frozen or canned. They take a little extra work, but are worth the effort. My favorite way to eat them is straight from the pod. Just pop them open and scoop the sweet, raw peas into your mouth. My mom would let us eat them in the shopping cart at the market and it was always a treat. When buying them, make sure the pods are green and plump. Buy more than you think you need, as you’ll only get 8-10 peas per pod.
Fresh peas are amazing cooked as well, like in this recipe for English peas and bacon. The sweet peas are even sweeter paired with salty bacon. It makes for a wonderful side dish with just about anything. I served this dish for my husband, who had never eaten them fresh. They were gobbled up very quickly. Almost too quickly, because that was the end of the season. Now we need to wait another year before they show up again.
English peas and bacon recipe
- 1 1/2 cups fresh shucked English peas
- 2 diced shallots
- 1-2 strips bacon, sliced
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper
- Substitutions and additions:
- Vidalia onion instead of shallot
- pancetta instead of bacon
- olive oil instead of bacon
- fresh mint or parsley
In a saucepan, boil peas in water until they are slightly soft and bright green, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from water and set aside.
Saute bacon pieces until crisp and brown, then remove from pan, leaving a few teaspoons of fat in the pan. Cook shallots and sugar in the bacon fat until shallots are soft. Return peas and bacon to the pan and season with salt and pepper.