Peas, Glorious Peas!

Peas - Hand

The original pod.

Peas, those little green beauties that were the bane of my existence as a small child. My mother tried everything; hiding them in a Shepard’s pie, in a beef ragout and even dousing them in honey. Nothing worked for me until I grew my very own peas and was able to pluck them off myself and eat them out of the pod. Peas have been in season here for a while, but seeing as every weekend has been spent away from my kitchen, it wasn’t until last night when my husband showed up with a bag of fresh snap peas from Noggins Corner Farm in the Annapolis Valley, that I was able to get my fix. I have many favorite ways to eat these bad boys; sauteed with pancetta, with mint and cream, or quickly blanched and tossed in a salad. A few summers ago, I had the pleasure of cooking for Leo Ricci, who happens to work for Lungarotti Winery in Torgiano, Italy. Here is the recipe for the clam and pea risotto that I prepared for him and paired with their white wine, Torre Di Giano; needless to say, it was a major hit!

Risotto of Fresh Peas and Clams

  • 3 cups fresh peas
  • 3 lbs clams; I prefer the local Black Point clams
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 l fish stock
  • 1/2 cup green onion; finely chopped
  • 1 bag arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 3 tbsp mint; chopped
  • 2 tbsp tarragon; minced
  • 3 lemons; zest
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a pot and add half the garlic. Cook for 1 minute and add the clams and 1/2 the wine. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until all the clams open. Any unopened clams ca be discarded. Strain, using a colander over a bowl so that you can collect the liquid. Leave to cool and take the clams from their shells. Take the liquid and pass through a coffee filter or fine sieve to remove any dirt or grit. Put clams in the liquid and save.

Blanch the peas in salted water until tender. Heat the stock to a simmer. Heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and add the green onions. Cook gently until they start to soften. When soft, add the rest of the garlic and rice. Stir to coat all the grains of rice and add the wine. Cook and stir and start adding the stock, one ladle at a time until it gets absorbed by the rice. Continue stirring and adding liquid until the rice is almost cooked; about 15 to 20 minutes. At the last minute, add the peas and clams and the clam liquid and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the herbs, cheese and lemon zest.

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2 Responses to “Peas, Glorious Peas!”

  1. shannon macdougall Says:
    August 11th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    mmm.. peas

    this past weekend i ate one pound of sugar snap and two pounds of shelled peas.
    it was bliss.
    they are tiny bundles of summertime joy.
    i’ll have to grab an extra pound or two next week to try your recipe!

  2. Randy Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I am waiting for fresh peas from the Valley. We are members of a local CSA, Taprrot Farm, and get some produce from Noggins Corner Farm. I made a risotto last night, but this sounds great. Where do you get Carnaroli rice in Halifax ?
    I have your site bookmarked, thanks for another great local blog with local products.

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