Milk Peas

May 13, 2011

Author Notes: 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. I'd been wanting to recreate wasabi peas; nothing would deter me. 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. 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.
Amanda Hesser

Serves: 4


  • 2 1/2 cups fresh peas
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Salt
  • 4 pats unsalted butter
  • Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Put the peas in a medium saucepan and pour over enough milk to barely cover the peas. Add a large pinch of salt. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer -- keep an eye on it, milk loves boiling over! Simmer until the peas are just tender.
  2. Spoon the peas into a serving bowl (or 4 small bowls), adding enough milk to pool in the base of the bowl. Season with the salt, lemon zest, and pepper. Top with the butter pats.

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