We’ve had a pretty good crop of peas show up – although we started late this year, the bush peas are in form and the climbing peas are starting to get right as well. There are a bunch of different recipes out there using fresh peas, I thought I would share a couple of our favorites.
First up is a traditional Spanish dish we found in the Moro cookbook. I pretty much follow it directly – if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor to create the bread and garlic paste. The technique is really versatile and can used for more than just this dish. But I highly recommend it with grouper. We used garden peas and garlic, bread from the Magnolia Bread Company in Sudlersville, and fresh caught grouper.
Mero en Amarillo (from Moro)
Big pinch of saffron
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
~2 cups of bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2 cubes
Four eight ounce grouper fillets, skin on. For the eastern shore folks, a thick rockfish fillet would work just as well.
1/2 cup White wine
8 ounces fresh peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the saffron threads to a small bowl and steep with boiling water until needed.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. You need a pan that has a lid or can be easily covered. Add the garlic and cook, tossing often until golden. Remove the garlic and set aside. Add bread to the skillet and cook, tossing often, until browned on all sides.
Transfer bread and garlic to a mortar and pestle and pound into a think paste. Or blend in a food processor. The mortar and pestle is a great stress reliever and a lot of fun.
Add the remaining oil to the skillet and bring back to medium. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Add the fillets skin side up, cook about 2 minutes and flip and cook until the skin is crisp, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine as well as the garlic and bread mixture. Let simmer for about 30 seconds to cook down the alcohol. Add in the saffron infused water and peas. Drop the heat to low, cover and cook until the fish is done. For an inch thick fillet it will take between 8 and 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
We had a side of sautéed mushrooms (oyster and shitake) from Black Bottom Farms and a nice Spanish Albarino white wine to round things out.
If you are really lucky, you get some excellent “help” shelling peas.