I Love Peaness

I love peaness.

There, I’ve said it.

It might surprise some of you to know that I was frightened by the very thought of it as a child. The taste, the texture, the appearance, the very essence of peaness made me cry. It gave me nightmares.

Who knew I’d come to pounce on it when the season rolls around.

I know what you’re thinking. He’s being so fifth grade about legumes.

But I didn’t start it. Honest, I didn’t.

She did:

When I first heard the word come out of Julie Powell’s* mouth on Iron Chef, it was almost enough to make me like her. Almost.

Then cut to spring of this year. Twitter was, for lack of a better phrase, all a-twitter with peaness, written just so:

#peaness

I’m not sure who started this business, though I have a short list of suspects. Whoever did, I most willingly jumped on the band wagon. The odd thing is that no one seems to get tired of it.

And who could ever really tire of peaness? I mean really.

Not my friend Anita, that’s for sure. Or her husband Cameron. They are as generous with their peaness as anyone I’ve ever met. In fact, they gave be a lovely bagful last night.

It’s wonderful to have such crafty friends.

And thank you again for sharing. And now, I’d like to share one of my favorite ways to take peaness. On toast.

How do you like your peaness? Do share. Everyone else is these days.

Purée of Peaness on Crostini

This recipe works well with both fresh and frozen peas. Please don’t gasp. There is nothing wrong with frozen peas if one can not get one’s hands on fresh ones.

I’ve opted to snack on peaness rather than make it part of a complete meal. It plays well with hearty fish like salmon and halibut, too. If you’re into such things.

Makes about 12 to 15 peaness-topped toasts

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh English peas (or the same amount of thawed frozen ones)

A large bowl of ice water (if using fresh peas) to shock your peaness

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably kosher)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgon olive oil

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

For the Crostini:

12- 15 1/2-inch slices of sweet baguette

Olive oil for rubbing (us the good stuff)

2 cloves of peeled, whole garlic for more rubbing

Preparation:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 450ºF.

2. Gently rub or brush olive oil onto bread slices. Place them on a baking sheet and into the oven. Toast them until golden brown. If you are impatient, you may stick them directly under the broiler.

3. Remove from oven and not-so-gently rub toasts/crostini/whatever you need to call them with garlic cloves. Set aside.

4. Bring a pot of cold, lightly salted water to a simmer. Add peas (if using frozen peas, omit this step). Simmer until their color brightens and they are turgid with juice. About one minute.

5. Either drain peas into a colander or with a slotted spoon/mesh strainer directly from the pot and into the awaiting bowl of ice water to cool. Drain peaness.

6. Place all purée ingredients except the Parmesan and oil into a food processor and start it up. With the machine running, add oil in a steady drizzle, caring to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer purée into a clean bowl and mix in the grated Parmesan.

7. Place a generous spoonful of the green stuff onto each bit of garlicky, toasted bread. Garnish with a little more cheese and lemon zest.

8. Share your peaness with your guests. I’ve heard there’s enough of it to go around.

*You know her– she’s the less interesting half of Julie & Julia. The one that’s mean to her husband. See, I knew you’d know who she was.

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20 Responses to I Love Peaness

  1. Sean says:

    Ah, but this peaness, Orson Welles on The Critic, preceded Julie Powell by a number of years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCwveJWHsJc

    • michaelprocopio says:

      Oh Lord, that’s right. You’d mentioned that.

      As penance, I did a tiny bit of digging and found the audio of Orson Welles’ original commercial, which was the inspiration for the piece on The Critic. Listen to it when you have a moment:

      [audio src="http://ubu.wfmu.org/sound/365/03/365-Days-Project-03-01-welles-orson-frozen-peas-spot.mp3" /]

  2. I’ll take peaness pretty much any way I can get it, but the most perfect, and bizarre, peaness we’ve had lately was this dish at Alinea: English Peas. A mix of nitrogen frozen peas, spherified liquids, pea tendrils, and pea leaves. Delicious, almost like vegetable gelato.

  3. So glad you enjoyed your gift-wrapped peaness.🙂

    Here’s our favorite way to enjoy peaness — with pork and cream, naturally, because one good innuendo deserves at least two more: http://is.gd/cqi3m

    • michaelprocopio says:

      Anita– Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice package like that?

      And I love the fact that you’ve included a recipe for a dish you’ve created under the headline subtitle of “Ditch the recipe.”

  4. michaelprocopio says:

    I’d never be not nice to you. You know too much.

  5. Jay Floyd says:

    Ah, Mike. I love it when you work blue.

  6. Lana says:

    Mike, I read your blog as therapy. Your writing always makes me crack up, and these days, even in sunny California, smiles are hard to find.
    I love peas. In any form. But, we watched an episode of Nigella Lawson with the kids, and unfortunately she decided to make “Mushy Peas” right then. The love affair with peas for my kids and Husband was over.
    I am all for peaness, in all reincarnations (my eldest daughter, when she was in first grade, wrote in her journal (submitted every day to the teacher) that she has collected 100 “penis” for the 100th day of school. We thought it was hilarious!

    • michaelprocopio says:

      Please tell me she was actually collecting pennies. Otherwise, I think an intervention might be needed. That is, in all truth, the funniest thing I’ve read all week. Thank you.

      And thank you, too, for stopping by to say hello. It means a lot.

      I can’t wait to tell MY therapist that someone reads me for their own. I promise not to send you a bill.

      Michael

  7. ron says:

    oh my. i can hardly wait to make this and share your “peaness” with all my friends! looks delicious!

  8. Lana says:

    He, he, she was collecting pennies. But I think the teacher was leaning strongly on intervention, especially after several journal entries of differently worded descriptions of us drinking. She is in Berkeley now, and I am more worried than ever!

    And I do enjoy your blog.

  9. Chris Rusak says:

    All I have to say is that if you’re fortunate to be in San Francisco at this wonderful foodie-time of the year, Pizzeria Delfina has been serving not only young fava bean fritto misto, but the same preparation with young peas as well.

    Just sayin….(they were delicious.)

    • michaelprocopio says:

      Oh, I’m sure they are delicious. For most of the San Francisco population, that is. Unfortunately, food emanating from anywhere within the Delfina Empire would leave a decidedly bitter taste in my mouth.

      I used to work for those people. That’s all I have to say publicly.

      Just sayin’.

  10. ron says:

    so, i made your “peaness” the other day, and it was a HUGE hit! i will definitely be putting it into my repertoire. loved it. another delicious serving suggestion i tried and loved, is to take a big shmear of your “peaness”, spread it on butter toasted, whole wheat bread, then a slice of provolone cheese and topped it off with scrambled eggs with caramelized onions. DELICIOUS! i highly recommend it. thanks for the great, simple recipe.

    • michaelprocopio says:

      Hi Ron– It’s a relief to know that my #peaness is a hit at parties. Hopely, I haven’t lost my touch…

  11. Pingback: Sweet Pea Pesto

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