We've always followed the idea that peas, especially the fresh peas we're still finding at the market right now, barely need to be cooked. Maybe sixty seconds on the heat tops. But we recently heard something that has us re-thinking all of our assumptions about this tiny green vegetable.Francis Lam, food editor for Salon.com, was on a recent episode of Spilled Milk podcast with an all-out rant about why peas are best served mushy. His argument is that peas are a legume, just like beans. They start getting starchy within hours of being picked, and they need longer cooking in order to soften those starches and convert them back to sugar. Just like beans.
He's not talking about cooking peas for hours, which really would take them beyond the point of being edible. He means cooking them just to the point of becoming tender and sweet again - somewhere around 10 minutes depending on how fresh your peas are. This goes for frozen peas from the freezer section too, by the way!
We've respected Francis Lam's opinion ever since he wrote for Gourmet, so we wonder if he might be on to something. Even so, it's really going to take a leap of faith to get us to intentionally let our lovely farm-fresh peas sit in the pan for as long as he recommends!