blistered peas-in-the-pod with lemon and salt – smitten kitchen

Even though my kids are not yet on summer break and even though I, as an adult, do not have a thing called a summer break, I’ve apparently helped myself to one. I’m sneaking off to the beach on weekdays (oops), reading novels, gorging myself on cherries and crisp-from-the-market cucumbers, playing midday tennis like a lady who lunches, and getting vexed when I receive work-related emails and texts. [“Alex, why are they texting me on a Sunday?” “Deb, it’s Tuesday.”]

I went to the small Greenmarket in my neighborhood yesterday with no plan except to buy more cucumbers and cherries and hoped I’d find something inspiring, forgetting that in June, everything is. I was filling my bag with three types of zucchini, peaches, onions, sugar snaps, green and yellow beans, beefsteak tomatoes, and fresh peas when I spotted the chef-owner of a favorite neighborhood restaurant across the table. As I am incapable of not excitedly prattling on about cooking the moment I see the smallest even totally unsolicited opportunity to, I asked what he was planning to do with the romano beans he was bagging (pressure cook, it turns out — so cool!) and I was about to ask him if he’d ever grilled peas in their pods whole and eaten them like edamame… and abruptly realized that I don’t think I’ve ever told you that we should be grilling peas in their pods whole and eating them like edamame. So I rushed home to do just that, delighted to have succeeded in finding something to keep my focus on work for the rest of the afternoon.

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That’s it, by the way; that’s the recipe. I first spotted the method in Susan Spungen’s Open Kitchen cookbook years ago and it remains a favorite because it’s wildly simple. The peas cook perfectly inside the pod without ever getting mushy. I don’t use a vegetable grilling basket since they’re large enough to easily stretch across grates. And the salty charred-edge sweet-centered results turn people who think they don’t like peas into people who lick a plate of them clean. (Even Frances!) It’s a fun thing to bring to a barbecue, as I will this afternoon so everyone can eat them hot off the grill. You can serve them two ways: 1. Whole, just sprinkled with a little salt, pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Or 2. You can peel back half of the pod, exposing the sweet little peas inside, and sprinkle them with all of the above and also some fresh mint and crumbled salty cheese, since they’re now on a little “raft” that can help transit these delicious extras directly into your mouth.

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Podcast! The 9th episode of my new podcast with J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Recipe with Kenji and Deb, is out and in it, we’re answering reader questions and mail. It’s fun! It’s random! And it’s just part one of two. You can listen to it anywhere you get your podcasts and I’ve set up a podcast tab/page where you can keep up on it here, too. We have new episodes every two Mondays– I hope you enjoy listening along.

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