When it comes to food magazines, we consider Fine Cooking to be a practical, user-friendly guide to everyday home cooking. If if were a clothing catalog, it would be Land's End — reliable, full of innovative solutions, and good at elevating basic ingredients to (relatively) stylish heights. In the May issue, we were especially enchanted by the simple, fresh treatment of spring peas...
The article focuses on young, tender peas you slip out of the pod yourself. We haven't started seeing spring peas in our markets (have you?) but we're now on the lookout.
There's a recipe for Quick-Braised Peas, Lettuce, and Scallions, a Pea and Mint Soup, and a Pea and Shrimp Penne with Basil (above), but our favorite option may be to simply toss blanched peas in a salad with some butter lettuce and herbs (left). This looked like the purest way to enjoy their sweetness. The article also gave a tip on boiling empty pea pods to make pea broth. Pea broth! Who knew?
Aside from peas, the issue covers basic pizza dough, including using it for calzones (sound famliar?). And the food science section at the back demystifies gluten.
There was also an article on fava beans, something we are seeing in the market but are a bit intimidated to take on. The magazine's tips for using just a handful of favas (if we get lazy while shelling them) was a nice touch. Stay tuned for our foray into fava beans soon...
Read an excerpt of the pea article:
More peas from our archives:
Throw some spring peas in these salads!
(Images: Fine Cooking)