Here's a contribution to Kerry's Farmers' Market Report. Fun!
Amelia Saltsman, author of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, inspired me yet again. Well, she and the farmers' offerings this week. I kept walking past the beautiful English peas thinking "must resist, must resist." Shelling the peas can be tedious. Furthermore, the minute the pea is picked, the sugars starts to break down into starch (if I remember correctly), which means that by the time you buy "fresh" peas from the grocery store, they're unlikely be very sweet at all. If you want sweet peas, your better off using frozen. I've heard this many, many times, so I guess you could say it's been drilled in to my "pea" brain.
But I did it anyway. Why? Who can resist the thrill of a challenge!?! Besides, the peas at the market are pretty fresh, so it's the best case scenario for fresh peas.
I took her Spring Melange recipe as a guide, and bought what I found and/or liked at the market. My melange included leeks, green garlic, Swiss chard, asparagus, English peas, mint, and lemon.
I've never used green garlic, but it was actually lovely. Its mild, garlicy flavor permeated the dish without overpowering it. I used fava beans last time, but heavens...if shelling peas was tedious, fava beans are at a whole new level (shell, boil, peel from skin). Speaking of, I found shelling the peas rather therapeutic, though MetaDaddy thought I was nuts to try it and rather discouraged such future endeavors. We'll see about that. As for the Swiss chard, I felt it toughened up the feel of the dish. I'll try spinach instead next time.
The final touch of mint and a good bit of lemon really brightened up the dish. I threw in some chopped up roasted chicken and served it with brown rice for a well rounded meal.
I'll definitely be doing it again!