Minty Fresh Shelled Peas

Minty Shelled Peas in a White Bowl with Blue Trim

There’s something magical about fresh peas in springtime.

They are only available for a few short weeks, so I always scoop up a bunch from the farmer’s market as soon as they arrive.

Thankfully, the farmers usually sell them pre-shelled, which saves a ton of time and manual labor (although shelling peas is somewhat meditative).

Fresh peas need very little to be delicious.

A quick blanch, a little butter, some fresh mint, and salt and pepper, and they’re divine.

Try to cook the peas the same day you buy them, if possible.

Like corn, the sweet morsels turn starchy as they sit, becoming less tender and and flavorful with time. If you can’t cook them within a day or two, quickly blanch and then freeze them for later. I waited a day or two too long with my batch, so they shriveled up a little more than I like while cooking. If you do it right, the peas will stay nice and plump and tender ūüôā

This is how fresh peas are meant to be enjoyed, so get to it!

Minty Shelled Peas Side Angle

Minty Fresh Shelled Peas
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh (or frozen) shelled peas
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Add the peas and boil for about 2-3 minutes, until the peas are bright green and tender. Drain, run with cool water to stop the cooking, and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a small skillet, then add the peas and mint. Cook for a minute or two until warmed through and coated with the minty buttery sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve right away.

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Parmesan Roasted Fennel

Parmesan Roasted Fennel Overhead Shot

Cooked fennel has quickly become one of my favorite vegetables.

Notice the emphasis on cooked. 

Still not a huge fan of the licorice-y flavor of raw fennel, but when it’s cooked, my oh my, it totally transforms. It becomes savory, tender, and almost onion-y, without the slightest hint of its¬†sharp raw taste.

This is what fresh fennel looks like:

Fresh Fennel Bulbs with Stems and Fronds

Bulbs, stalks, fronds, and all.

I prefer to buy it like this, in its whole form, so I can tell how fresh it is. Often times stores cut off the stems and fronds when they are wilting & sell just the bulbs.

Plus, you can do so many yummy things with the stems and fronds!

I love chopping the fronds and tossing them into pasta with sausage, or using the stems in place of onions, celery, or even leeks (recipe coming soon!).

But back to the bulb.

Before you roast fennel, it’s important to cut the bulbs in half and use a sharp knife to cut out the tough core. It’s easy to spot inside the fennel, it looks like a solid white pyramid in the bottom-center of the fennel bulb, very similar to the core inside heads of cabbage. The core is tough & won’t become tender like the rest of the bulb will, so it’s best to cut it out.

Once the core has been removed, you simply slice the fennel bulb just like you would an onion. You could also just roast the halved bulbs, but they literally take over an hour to get tender, so I prefer to roast them in slices.

Parmesan Roasted Fennel

I’m a firm believer that parmesan makes everything better.

Especially when you roast it in the oven and turn it into golden crispy bites of goodness. The crispy cheese pieces coat the tender fennel, and turn every bite into something awesome and delicious.

The best perk?

You can totally make this on a weeknight. Prep first, pop it in the oven, and let it cook while you simmer some brown rice pilaf and cook a protein main. Yummy. Easy. Whole food. Winning.

Parmesan Roasted Fennel Plated

 

Parmesan Roasted Fennel
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stems removed, bulbs cut in half & cored, then cut into 1 1/2 inch slices
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil (a few tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (to prevent sticking), and add the fennel slices to it.
  2. Drizzle the fennel with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Use your hands to toss and coat every slice. Spread the fennel slices out evenly and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the fennel slices are fork tender & slightly caramelized, and the parmesan cheese is golden and crisp.
  3. Use a spatula to remove the fennel & crispy cheese bits from the parchment paper & serve.

 

Pairs well with Seared Pork Chops with Mustard Pan Sauce or Classic Roasted Chicken.

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Smoky Roasted Radishes and Chard

Smoky Roasted Radishes and Chard

Have you ever tried roasted radishes??

Roasting transforms this beautiful vegetable from a sharp peppery crisp root, to a tender mellow savory morsel. Hearty, satisfying, and somewhat reminiscent of roasted potatoes.

I’ll admit it, this dish is pretty “out of the box”.

It’s¬†just vegetables and broth, but it TASTES like there is meat in it! The flavors are so much more complex than the sum of their parts.

The roasted radishes and onions make up the bulk of the dish. They are hearty and savory, with a pop of caramelized sweetness from the onions. The lightly saut√©ed chard gives a nice contrasting freshness and bite. It’s so¬†different. One of those meals where you have to keep taking bites to explore the complex flavors.

But the real kicker is the hickory smoked sea salt.

Smoked sea salt can be tough¬†to find in store,¬†but you can¬†purchase it on Amazon. It’s made by smoking the salt over burning hickory wood, imparting a super deep smoky flavor and smell. It reminds me of a smoldering campfire and delicious barbecue, all in one.

When the smoked sea salt combines with the rich gruyere cheese, it creates a salty smoky flavor that tastes so much like ham. If you’re a vegetarian who misses the taste of smoked meats, you’ll LOVE this dish!

The smoky salt infuses the veggies and broth with a rich flavor unlike anything you’ve ever tried.

Serve it with hunks of warm bread to sop up the delicious broth & a glass of crisp dry white wine for the ultimate meal for the start of spring.

Smoky Roasted Radishes and Chard

Smoky Roasted Radishes and Chard
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 3-4 bunches of radishes (about 40 radishes), stems cut off and washed well, extra large ones cut into quarters, large ones cut in half, small ones left whole
  • About 40 pearl onions, root end cut off and onions peeled but left whole
  • Several tablespoons olive oil
  • Generous sprinkling of kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches swiss chard (whatever color you want! white, red, yellow, or rainbow), stems cut off at base of leaf and discarded, remaining leaves roughly chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup freshly grated or shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon hickory smoked sea salt
  • High quality sourdough or french bread for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  2. Place the radishes and onions in a large 9√ó13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper and toss to coat. Roast uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the radishes. 

  3. When the radishes and onions are done, remove from the oven and set aside. If you want to serve warm bread with the meal, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and add the bread to the oven to warm and crisp-up while you finish the rest of the dinner.

  4. Next, add a liberal tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low. Add the chard and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the chard is just wilted but still tender crisp, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the roasted radishes and onions and all accompanying roasting juices to the pan. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, hickory smoked sea salt, and gruyere cheese and gently mix. Heat for a minute or two until all the ingredients are warmed through. 

  6. Remove the bread from the oven and let sit until cool enough to slice or rip into pieces. Serve the stew in bowls with warm sourdough or french bread on the side for dipping.

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