Better Parmesan & Peas

Y’all, our co-op kicks ass. When we lived in Nashville we went back and forth about joining a CSA because it was just the two of us and, even though I love me some random veggies – and I can certainly put them away, we were concerned about wasting food. I know there are options like canning, pickling, jamming, and so forth but farm girl I am not and I know my limits when it comes to the kitchen. At any rate, when we moved to Raleigh we started the search for a CSA to fit our needs and found Carolina Grown. Every week we get to order from their ever-expanding menu of produce, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, pasta, baked goods, etc. all from right here in North Carolina and it is delivered right to our doorstep every Friday morning. Like I said – it kicks ass. The beauty of the co-op is that it inspires me to experiment with different ways to prepare the abundance of vegetables we receive every week.

This week, we got some English shelling peas. I love peas. They are adorable and delicious. But, I’d only ever eaten them one of two ways – in a pasta/casserole OR blanched with butter and salt. I did some sleuthing online and found this lovely collection of recipes from 101 Cookbooks. I was particularly inspired by the Spring Pea Slathered Crostini recipe but didn’t have everything on-hand so I just went with what I had: peas, parmesan, butter, salt, and crushed red pepper.

In the recipe she says to boil the water while you shell the peas. Due to my giant (not quite man-sized) hands and sausage-esque fingers – these kinds of tasks take me a good minute to complete. So, I waited until I was about half-way through the bag of peas to start the water. I cooked them for about 30 seconds, then rinsed and tossed them in a bowl with a pat of butter and a pinch of salt. I added a large (not quite man-sized) handful of shredded parmesan and several generous shakes of crushed red pepper. I attempted to “make quick work of it” with my immersion blender (also known as the most amazing kitchen tool I’ve ever owned) but, apparently, didn’t quite have enough of the mixture to fully submerge the blender resulting in a quick spray to the face of pea/parmesan/crushed red pepper. So, I got out my food processor and took care of business.

I served it as an ever so fancy blob on a plate with a fresh baguette. It was delicious. The crushed red pepper added the prefect amount of heat and parmesan is amazing no matter what you do with it. Next time, I’ll try it with manchego (my all-time favorite cheese) and serve it on a baguette with a slice of jamón serrano. Though, I don’t know if the manchego would last long enough in my kitchen to make it to the Cuisinart…

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