Sometimes I think that peas are a boring and blasé food; but there are a couple of weeks each year when fresh garden peas are available at the farmers’ market, and that’s a totally different story. Fresh peas are a to-die-for sweet, yet delicate, taste sensation – and lovely when served in a traditional “cream” sauce that is made using milk.
I dug out my hundred-year-old cookbooks, and found this recipe for Creamed Peas.
The Creamed Peas were lovely and the simple sauce enhanced the subtle flavors of the tender peas. The dish was simultaneously an easy-to-make, but almost elegant food, and a delightful comfort food.
Here’s the recipe adapted for modern cooks:
Creamed Fresh Peas
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups shelled fresh garden peas
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Put the flour in a cup or small bowl, and gradually stir in the 2 tablespoons of milk to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
Put the peas into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the peas, then pour 1/2 cup of milk over the peas. Return to the heat and using a medium heat bring the milk to a boil. Quickly, but gently, stir in the flour paste. Cook the creamed peas for a few seconds while continuing to stir until the milk mixture thickens. Remove from heat and serve.
I was surprised that the recipe author didn’t make a white sauce that was poured over the peas, but instead covered the peas with milk, heated it, and then stirred in a flour paste to thicken it. Maybe she was trying to minimize the number of pans on the stove. I made the recipe using the flour paste, but it would work fine to make the white sauce separately.