Peas are a divisive ingredient. Some people love them, while others aren’t fans. I’m squarely in the former category. Peas are great! I love their flavor, texture, and color, but my favorite thing about them—especially frozen peas—is their versatility. In fact, we prefer frozen peas over fresh.
Did you know that frozen peas are packaged in the spring at peak freshness? Those bags of sweet or English peas that you pick up in the freezer section have been quickly harvested and blanched briefly before freezing to preserve their beautiful green color. If I could taste the color green, I bet it would include the sweet, slightly earthy flavors of peas. These flavors can be amplified with a number of ingredients or allowed to shine on their own.
Here’s how much I love peas: Years ago, a best friend shared with me her favorite way to eat peas, and it’s become a favored snack of mine. All you do is warm ½ cup of frozen peas in ½ to 1 cup of lightly salted water. Heat it through and blend it up, adding additional salt and pepper to taste. It’s that easy. (For a more substantial meal, this Creamy Pea Soup is just as simple.)
But pea soup doesn’t have to be blended. Pasta e Piselli is a pasta and pea soup with the warming flavors of fall melding with the fresh bite of green peas. Watch Cook’s Illustrated Senior Editor Lan Lam prepare the recipe here:
One of the most common pea complaints is the texture. Overcooking peas results in greyish, mushy lumps. To prevent that, add thawed peas at the end of cooking and let the residual heat from the nearly finished dish warm them through. In this Latin American Pork and Rice dish, the frozen peas are stirred in at the very end along with fresh, chopped cilantro for brightness. Alternatively, this Pea Soup recipe uses lettuce— added to the processed peas—to maintain a vibrant green. Still, only cook your frozen peas for a maximum of 8 to 10 minutes for the best results. Each pea will pop with the zing of spring, anytime of year.