Warm Peas & Lemon Balm
Shelling peas are one of those vegetables that are just perfect when homegrown. Frozen peas do not compare to fresh peas that are sweet and crispy, even when cooked briefly in a water bath as called for here. It is a bit of a labor-intensive process to first blanch, then shock the peas in an ice-water bath, but it's worth it for the crisp-tender texture this extra step produces. Peas also pair beautifully with mint. You can easily substitute mint for the lemon balm in this recipe, or use equal amounts of both herbs.
Serves 2 to 4
1 pound shelling peas
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon balm leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is boiling, shell the peas. Set up a water bath, filling a large bowl with cold water and ice. Set aside. When the peas have been hulled, drop them into the boiling water and cook until bright green and floating, 2 t0 3 minutes. Drain and immediately drop them into the ice-water bath, halting the cooking process. Give them a stir to make sure they are cool, then drain and set aside.
In a medium-skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the lemon balm and stir until the leaves make a popping sound, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peas and stir to combine. When the peas are just heated through, about 1 minute, remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
More Garden Recipes: Lemon balm is a strong herb, so it's best to use it sparingly. For a summer sun tea, combine torn mint and lemon balm leaves, add water, and steep in the sun.