Thursday, March 07, 2013

Cooking with Mollie #12: Wasabi Peas

Wasabi Peas
Wasabi Peas

I'm making progress getting through Mollie Katzen's magical vegetable book, "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without." This is recipe 12, so I figure I'm about 1/10 of the way through. It has been a tasty, delightful, palate-enlightening pleasure so far (mostly).

The recipe is for Wasabi Peas. No, not the crunchy kind in the can, though I love those, too. I especially love when you get a can where the wasabi is very unevenly distributed, so you eat them and 9 peas are mildly spicy and the tenth is OH MY GOD MY BRAIN IS ON FIRE WOW MY SINUSES, WAIT, IS THAT JESUS?

That's fun.

But I have to admit I've never been much on regular peas. I grew up on mushy, canned, grey-green peas, or overcooked frozen peas, so as a kid, I couldn't imagine anything worse. As an adult, I just tend to forget they exist. Too many other vegetables.

The hardest part about this recipe is finding fresh peas. Mine came from Guatemala (well, actually from Trader Joe's, but they started out in Guatemala). Mollie says you can use frozen. I say "No, thank you."

Then it's pretty simple. One might even be tempted to say easy PEAsy, if one had a sick, punny sense of humor. Ahem.

Saute some onions. I used shallots - I'm a rebel. And I had some shallots that were about to go bad. Meanwhile, make a sauce of wasabi paste, olive oil, and water. Mix with the peas. Put the whole mess in with the shallots and cook. That's it. Oh, and let it sit 15 minutes before serving.

Did I like it? Not at first, but then again, I didn't wait 15 minutes. It really did help the flavors to combine. I don't think I used enough wasabi paste, and I think the stuff I bought was a little old. I got it at an Asian market that is really more a liquor store with some Asian stuff. So it was a little funky to me.

I'd like to try it again, either with real fresh Wasabi (which is rare and about $40 per pound when you can find it) or at least fresher wasabi paste.

But yeah, it's a nice way to zip up peas. I ate it cold at lunch, and I can't say that was bad, either. Thumbs up! Bon appetit.

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