Peas: Spring on a Plate

Peas can be a hard sell. Kids turn their noses up at them, and some adults will try and convince you that they were traumatized by having to eat peas as a child. But peas are a nutritional rock star, and with proper preparation, peas can taste like spring on a plate.

Nutritionally, peas are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they contain a small amount of omega-6 fatty acids, which helps provide our bodies with important fat-soluble nutrients, including beta-carotene and valuable amounts of vitamin E. Peas are also a very good source of copper, fiber, folate, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamins C and K.

Here is an exceptionally fresh dish that features peas, perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner:

Sautéed Shrimp with Garlic, Peas, and Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds medium-size shrimp with shells
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups shelled fresh peas
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro

Directions

Shell and devein shrimp, saving shells. Pour 1 quart of water into a medium saucepan; salt. Add shrimp shells to water; bring water to a boil. Skim foam, reduce heat, and partially cover saucepan. Simmer shells for 30 minutes. Strain broth into a bowl, and discard shells. Return broth to saucepan.

While shells are simmering, season shrimp with salt and set aside for 15 minutes.

Return broth to a boil. Add peas and boil for 2 minutes. Remove peas with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove ½ cup of the broth and set aside for later use.

Set a wide, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil; heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and add shrimp. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, until shrimp turns pink. Add peas, parsley, and cilantro; toss and cook for 1 minute. Stir in reserved ½ cup of broth; heat and stir, deglazing skillet as you stir. Remove saucepan from heat. If necessary, adjust seasoning. Serve.