pretty peas March 30, 2009

"How luscious lies the pea within the pod." – Emily Dickinson

I can't take it anymore – I had to make something using fresh peas. Of all the vegetables I love – and there are many – peas hold a very special place in my heart. I grew up eating them in everything (mostly the canned variety, bless my mom's heart) as it was the one green thing my dad could stomach. As I've grown up, I've ditched the cans and developed a full swoon lust for fresh peas. There is something romantic about opening fresh peas – that daydreamy let-your-mind-wander (mine was reflecting on a pretty remarkably amazing weekend i just had) busy work that keeps you standing at the sink with your head and hands just a-goin'.

I haven't cooked with them in some time so I was thrilled when I scored a handful of bright green fresh peas at the market. With them, I wanted to make a spin on macaroni salad. This is total picnic and potluck food for those in the parts of the world (like me) where the weather is getting good. There were gorgeous radishes at the market, too – they add such pop of color and crunch. Throw in some chopped sugar snap pea pods and chives with a tangy dressing and it's a great base for grilled salmon or seafood or alongside really flavorful sandwiches.

Pea, Radish and Orzo Salad – serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1/2 cup orzo – uncooked
  • 1 7 ounce container of Greek Yogurt – you can substitute sour cream if you choose
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 1 small bunch radishes – washed and cut into a small dice or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas – you can substitute fresh frozen peas here
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas cut into 1/2 " pieces – you can substitute any crunch green veggie for these. asparagus tips or green beans would also be good.
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

– In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until al dente. Cooking time will vary but it should be in the 6-7 minute range. If you are using fresh frozen peas, throw them in the boiling water with the orzo in the last 2 minutes of the pasta's cook time. Drain and allow to cool.
– In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt,  lemon zest, and chopped chives. Add drained orzo to the dressing. To that, add your peas, radishes, and snap peas. Stir to mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the mixture with chopped chives. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.


Fearless Kitchen Mar 31, 2009 08:03 am

This looks really delicious. I’m never sure what to do with radishes, this gives me some ideas.

vincent Mar 31, 2009 09:03 am

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Hilllary Mar 31, 2009 09:03 am

I’m not usually big on pasta salad but this looks like one I would like! Great recipe!

Treehouse Chef Apr 2, 2009 04:04 pm

I may be one of the few people that luvvvv peas. I can eat them raw, fried, boiled, and even baked. It makes no difference. They are just plain good. Excellent recipe. I am going to make it. Thanks!

Melissa from Pittsburgh Apr 7, 2009 12:04 pm

This looks awesome.
I’m growing some radishes and sweet peas this year (or attempting them anyway) so I’m keeping this.
If I could substitue the orzo for something (not sure what) I can do this raw (I’m eating raw foods lately, or TRYING) and this sounds WONDERFUL!

Terry B Apr 7, 2009 09:04 pm

We occasionally pick up fresh peas at one of our favorite produce markets. They never make it home. We shell and eat them in the car.

C'tina May 8, 2009 04:05 pm

just tied string trailing down the deck rail so the peas could twine up…those undulating little filaments of green filigree…

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