It’s peas and carrots updated for 2019!
There is no excuse for grabbing a bag of frozen peas and carrots at this time of year. The first spring plantings of both are hitting the farm stands and farmers markets, and are they ever tasty. With a little updating, peas and carrots move from an invisible side dish to a memorable part of your dinner.
Well worth the wait
Spring was cold, wet, and slow in coming this year, but the sugar snap peas are finally available, and they are plump and flavorful. Look for pods that are deep green and full, with no wrinkled or yellowing skin. You don’t want the pods to be bulging, or splitting open which means they are probably old and starchy in flavor. It’s still a little early to worry about that.
Will the real baby please stand up?
The first new baby carrots have also appeared and are sweet, tender, and fragrant. As I was preparing this dish for dinner recently, my granddaughter commented that she didn’t know carrots smelled so good! When we usually see “baby carrots” in the markets, they are actually full-grown carrots that have been whittled down by machine! Their flavor is much different than a true sweet baby carrot.
Save some of the greens as well; every part of the carrot is edible. You can use the greens in pesto, or add them to soups, salads, or this side dish!
Sugar Snap Peas with Baby Carrots
First, make the crumb topping. In a food processor, combine:
- 2 plump garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp. blanched almonds
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. sweet or hot paprika
- A few carrot fronds or parsley
Whirl them around until pulverized.
Place a skillet over medium-high heat and add:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
Sauté, stirring constantly, until the mixture lightly toasts. This will take just a few minutes. Dump into a bowl and set aside.
Prep the vegetables. Wash and peel:
- ½ lb. baby carrots
Trim the tops to a few inches.
Snap off the ends and remove the strings from the sides of:
- 12 ounces sugar snap peas.
In the same skillet you browned the crumbs in, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and:
- 2 anchovies
Break up the anchovies and add the carrots in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
Let the carrots cook for five minutes, turn if they are browned. If not, let them cook for a minute or two more.
Turn the carrots, add:
- 2 tbsp. white wine
Cover and reduce the heat to medium low. The timing of this all depends on the size of your carrots, if really tiny, this could take less time to cook than the peas!
After a minute or so, add the peas, season with salt and pepper, and cover again.
Once the peas are just about there, add:
- 2 ounces pea shoots, optional
Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for a couple of minutes or until the shoots have wilted.
Plate, season with a flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and top with the crumbs, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen.