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.
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:
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
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
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.