Monday, September 9, 2013

Creamed Sweet Peas with Shallot Crisps

Creamed Sweet Peas with Shallot Crisps

If you can get fresh, and I mean farm fresh not super-market fresh, Sweet Peas - buy all you can carry! And then use them within one or two days. The window of opportunity to get really fresh Sweet Peas in season is very small and they do not last long once they leave the farm. This recipe will shine if you can use fresh instead of frozen, but don’t let a shortage of fresh peas stop you from preparing it.

One of the great things about sweet peas is the amount of flavor each one of those little buggers pack inside! There are a lot of additional flavors going on in this dish; butter, onion, nutmeg and hot paprika, but the peas really hold their own, teaming up perfectly.

A lot of folks have never had really good sweet peas. Many have only been exposed to them in the form of a bowl of boiled peas with what appears to be a few cocktail onions. Or worse yet, in the corner of a TV dinner with the crusty mashed potatoes overflowing into them! But sweet peas, when prepared right, are really a treat. In fact, if you’ve got certain family members who turn their noses up at the mention of peas, this recipe may just convince them to give peas a chance!

Creamed Sweet Peas with Shallot Crisps
Yield: 4 Servings     Preparation Time: 10 Minutes     Cooking Time: 10 Minutes


• 1 Pound Sweet Peas, thawed to room temperature if frozen
• 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

• 2 Tablespoons Onion, finely minced

• Kosher Salt

• ¼ Cup + 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

• 1¾ Cups Milk, heated to 110ºF

• 3 Grates Fresh Nutmeg
• 2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
• 1 Teaspoon Hot Spanish Paprika, (not the smoked variety)

• 2 Shallots, peeled and cut into ⅛” thick slices

• 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Place the Peas in a mesh strainer and rinse with very hot, running tap water for 1 minute. Set aside and allow to the Peas to drain completely.

Step 2. Melt the Butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced Onion and ½ teaspoon Salt and cook until they become translucent. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Flour over the Onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is just beginning to dry, but is still moist. Then gradually whisk in the heated Milk until smooth. Add the nutmeg and adjust seasoning to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

Step 3. Once the sauce has begun to simmer and has thickened slightly, remove it from the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan and the warm Peas. Cover and set to the side to keep warm.

Step 4. Combine the remaining ¼ cup Flour, 1 teaspoon Salt and the Paprika in a medium bowl. Toss the Shallot slices in the flour until evenly covered and then transfer the Flour coated Shallots to a wire mesh strainer and shake to remove the surplus flour.

Step 5. Set a small sauté pan over medium-high heat then add the Canola and Olive Oils and heat until just barely smoking. Carefully add the Flour coated Shallots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning with tongs, until browned. Transfer the fried Shallots to paper towel to drain and season lightly with additional Salt.

Transfer the creamed Peas to a serving bowl and top with the crisp Shallots.

Tips and Trending

~ After adding the warmed milk to the cooked onions and flour mixture, do not allow the sauce to boil. Simmering is all that is needed to provide enough heat to finish cooking the flour; boiling will result in a sauce that is way too thick. If the sauce does thicken too much before serving, stir in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of milk to relax the sauce.

~ Shallots are often described as a variety of onion that is a cross between onion and garlic. Not true - shallots are actually in the same species as onion and garlic, but are an entirely different plant. Because they do share similar yet more subtle flavor characteristics of both onion and garlic, our Shallot Crisps are the perfect step-up replacement for prepackaged fried onions. Remember that next time you make a holiday green bean casserole!

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