Enjoy these bright green gems just in time for your next spring gathering
Sweet Pea Crostini
Sauté 4 sliced green onions and 1 minced garlic clove in 1 Tbsp. hot olive oil 2 minutes. Add 1½ cups blanched fresh sweet peas and 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; cook until heated. Remove from heat; stir in ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Spoon onto 24 toasted French baguette slices. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. MAKES: 24 servings.
Ginger-Snow Pea Slaw
Toss together 4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage (1 head); 2 cups fresh snow peas, trimmed and cut into thin strips; 1/3 cup bottled sesame-ginger dressing; ¼ cup chopped roasted almonds; 3 sliced green onions; 1 shredded carrot; and 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro. MAKES: 8 servings.
Pea Salad Deviled Eggs
Slice 12 hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise; carefully remove yolks, reserving egg whites. Mash together yolks; ½ cup blanched fresh sweet peas, coarsely chopped; 4 cooked bacon slices, finely chopped; ¼ cup mayonnaise; 2 Tbsp. minced red onion; 2 Tbsp. sour cream; 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint; ¼ tsp. salt; and 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper. Spoon into egg white halves. Serve immediately, or chill up to 1 hour. MAKES: 2 dozen.
Shrimp-Snow Pea Stir-fry
Peel 1 lb. medium-size raw shrimp; devein, if desired. Stir-fry shrimp in 1 Tbsp. hot peanut oil in a wok over high heat 1 minute. Add 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips, and 1 garlic clove, chopped; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add 1 cup fresh snow peas, trimmed and cut into thin strips; stir-fry 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup bottled stir-fry sauce; stir-fry 1 minute. Serve over hot cooked rice. MAKES: 4 servings.
Chilled Green Pea Soup
Process 4 cups blanched peas; 2 cups water; 1 cup chopped, peeled English cucumber; ¼ cup chopped sweet onion; ¼ cup chopped fresh mint; and ¼ cup sour cream in a blender until smooth. Stir in 1¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Cover and chill 1 to 8 hours. MAKES: 8 cups.
Roasted Garlic-Sweet Pea Spread
Preheat oven to 425°. Cut off pointed end of 1 garlic bulb; place garlic bulb on a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Fold foil to seal. Bake 30 minutes; let cool 10 minutes. Process 2 cups blanched fresh sweet peas in a food processor until smooth. Squeeze pulp from roasted garlic bulb into food processor bowl with peas; add ½ cup ricotta cheese, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, and 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Process until smooth. With processor running, pour ¼ cup olive oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until smooth. Stir in 1 tsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper. Serve with crackers. MAKES: about 2½ cups.