Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peas with Basil, Lemon, and Pecorino

I'm on a bit of a quest. Most green vegetables have gotten a bum wrap out of life. Generations of children are force-fed soggy, steamed, flavorless piles of supposed health food, and we wonder why Americans don't eat their vegetables. If you can, just disconnect your childlike aversion to all things healthy, and you'll find there's an awesome world of healthful deliciousness just waiting out there.

I've seen many examples of a cold pea salad with fresh mint and pecorino, and I have to admit, I am a big fan of those recipes. However, I was looking for a way to prepare the peas warm, and I just didn't think those recipes would be good warm. So, I experimented around just a little and found a very nice combination, if I may say so myself. Sub basil for the mint (and tone down the amount just a bit), add some garlic and shallots to give it a little depth, and you've got yourself one nice vegetable side dish.

Peas with Basil, Lemon, and Pecorino


  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 medium to large shallot, chopped into thin strips
  • 2 bags high-quality frozen young peas
  • 1/2 lemon
  • several large, fresh basil leaves (5-6)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh pecorino cheese (you can substitute fresh parmesean, if need be)
Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large, flat-bottomed frying pan or wok. Add the garlic and shallots, stirring until browned and slightly crispy. Add the peas, stirring constantly (you don't really need the peas to cook through: just heat up, really). Once the peas are warm, add the juice from half the lemon, and zest some of the peel in with a zester. Stir thoroughly.

Reduce the heat on the stove to low. Finely tear or snip the basil leaves, and add to the peas. Grate the pecorino over the peas to form a thin layer, then stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, top with a few pecorino curls (you can make them with a vegetable peeler).

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