Sunday, June 14, 2009

In Season NW: Peas, Please!

We're lucky here in Portland that many of our restaurants get their produce from the same local farmers who are found at our farmers' markets, making it easy to duplicate a dish you've swooned over. Contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood did just that recently.

I ate sugar snap peas with mint and piment d’espelette at Laurelhurst Market last week, so when I saw the peas at the Viridian Farms stand at the Portland Farmers Market Saturday, I grabbed a few a pints (Viridian also grows and dries the Basque peppers, and I had vial of the mild red chile in my kitchen already). Since I was already in the middle of a vegetable grillfest, I cooked the pea pods over the coals using a wok-like grill pan. And while I was picking the mint, I added a few leaves of the lemon verbena growing nearby.

Sugar Snap Peas with Mint, Lemon Verbena, and Piment d’Espelette

Make a salsa verde by finely chopping about a cup of fresh mint leaves with a 5-6 leaves of lemon verbena and a large shallot. Add about a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil (I used the Katz Meyer Lemon olive oil) and a half teaspoon or so of piment d’espelette.

Trim the stem ends of the sugar snap peas. Before grilling, toss with a drizzle of oil, then cook in the grill basket over direct heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. If you're cooking on the stovetop, sauté in olive oil for a few minutes, or drop into boiling salted water. However you cook them, do it quickly.

Toss the pea pods with the salsa verde and serve immediately.

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