I know what many of you might say. Any self-respecting food nerd would gasp at the idea of using frozen vegetables.
Well, I cannot wait to disagree. I am coming out of the snob closet for my favorite frozen treat⎯peas. While I will agree that the vast glut of vegetables in our markets’ frozen food aisles are of depleted quality, frozen peas have time and time again, won over my frozen, green heart.
Betty Crocker no longer rules the dinner table, and we need not avoid these icy beads any more. Never again must we be relegated to those mealy, re-stimulated and often grossly under-seasoned versions we all grew up tormented by. I’m not your psychiatrist, but it’s okay to eat peas once frozen again.
More-so than for simply taste (because I know fresh are inherently superior), for sheer versatility alone, frozen peas are my kitchen’s number-one staple food item. If I were to write a cookbook someday (you know, over that rainbow), I would begin with one of those clichéd lists of my top five or ten recommended food items to always keep stocked in your pantry or fridge. You know, like the basics⎯quality olive oil, kosher salt, coarse pepper, blah, blah, blah, but also: packages of frozen peas.
These toothy green pearls will save for the ages, and can participate in almost any dish. They can equally help finish an otherwise boring meal, turning it into something much more gratifying.
Best of all, peas are ethnically blind. Besides being an underrated side (* don’t overcook and under-season folks) to a-many ubiquitous American meat-and-potato dinnertime constructs⎯as well as dedicated players in soups and stews⎯I constantly add them to stir-frys, pasta dishes and Mexican spreads alike. We’re talking worldly little balls.
Again, it goes without mention that fresh organic peas are always preferred. In a pinch however, I don’t often have the time (and the resulting patience) to de-pod a heap of peas every time I cook. Having a stockpile of the frozen version on hand, at all times, ensures that taste, variety and convenience cannot all be entirely, and mutually exclusive.
Without further adieu, I love you frozen green peas.