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How do we create recipes? Here's how: Merrill reads The Dirty Life, in which the author, Kristin Kimball, mentions a dish of peas, milk, butter, salt and pepper. She tells me about the dish. I am desperate to come up with a recipe for my weekly blog post. I'd been wanting to recreate wasabi peas; nothing would deter me. Well, except for a little self-doubt. Merrill convinces me to make the milk peas as back-up. She's very sensible, that Merrill.
I attempt the wasabi peas. Turns out that when you deep-fry peas, they turn into jet-propelled firebombs. Sarah, our photographer, climbs up onto the counter to escape the shelling. I creep along the floor to turn off the burner. The wasabi peas are a miserable failure. (Although my wood floor does get a nice oiling out of it.)
Milk peas it will be! I consult with Merrill about the amount of milk (just enough to barely cover the peas, we decide), about the butter (do a pat, don't measure!), whether or not to add lemon zest (yes). I scribble down a few notes. The peas are simmered in the milk, spooned into a bowl, topped with enough milk to pool around the base, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and crowned with a sliver of butter.
Thus, milk peas, a dish evocative of the days when a pat of butter solved everything, are born.
- 2 1/2 cups fresh peas
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 pats unsalted butter
- Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper