Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Peas and Carrots

I have always been very specific about what I would eat and how I wanted to eat it. It was paramount to me that my foods never touch unless they were designed to go together – best they keep their distance. My nemesis on any dinner plate were peas and carrots. They were not from the same pod, and as a kid I only ever had them canned. There was not a more foul smell and texture then these two seemingly arbitrary partners. They were an unfortunate staple on our dinner table and a source, not of vitamins, but arguments that I would lose. My first real attempt at a pea was in my late teens when I was presented a fresh, raw version of the legume unpolluted by the canning process or its ever-present escort. It was a revelation – sweet, crisp everything I did not know it could be. My mother to his day denies the fact it took almost twenty years before she served me a fresh pea. She was of the canned generation -- that post world war two population driven by convenience and security. She made sure we were well provided for by converting half of our two-car garage into a mini-mart.

Now, all these years later I still get the dry-heaves when I see mushy peas and carrot bits occupying space on a plate. Yet, in the market the pea is peaking and young, slender carrots are stacked on farmer’s tables. Perhaps they can go together….

Peas and Carrots – yields 4 to 6

1-pound peas (in shell)
3 small carrots
1 small red onion
1 lemon zest
1/2-cup basil – torn
1/4-cup extra virgin oil olive
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Shell the peas, and drop them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain the peas, and run cold water over them to arrest the cooking process.

Peel the carrots, and dice the carrots to about the size of the peas. Dice the red onion.

In a work bowl toss the peas, carrots, onion, lemon zest, basil, oil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

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