California produce has slain yet another one of my Hate Foods. There were quite a few groups things I refused to eat as a kid and peas were definitely one of them. I hated the mushy, tasteless, mean little things. If I piled enough butter and salt on them, I could just swallow them down with a big slosh of water but my gag reflex still worked overtime.
Last weekend, I was picking through the produce at the Sunset Andronico's and my eyes fell on the big smooth pods of English peas. Without thinking too hard about what I would do, I started stuffing them in a plastic bag.
Once at home, I perched on a sunny stool in the kitchen and took old-fashioned pleasure in slitting the pods open with my thumbnail and rolling the pale fat peas into a bowl. A few seconds dip in rapidly boiling water and slightly longer in a shocking ice bath and my peas were ready. Firm and mouth-popping, the peas were as smooth as a freshly Botoxed baby's bottom with nary a wrinkle to be found. But what to do with them?
I pulled out the butter and salt and stared at them. Ugh, I couldn't go that route. While I love the simplicity of salt and butter when oven-roasting or steaming summer corn, in order to fully expunge my childhood memories, I definitely needed something completely different. Since the peas were already cold, I opted for a salad. Peppery watercress, slightly bitter endive, and flaked ivory shavings of salty Pecorino Romano in a light lemony vinaigrette all brought out the sweetness of the spring pearls.