One-Pot Wonders

Milk Peas

May 13, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hillary Wheatley
    Hillary Wheatley
  • Droplet
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
  • jenniebites
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

8 Reviews

Hillary W. January 4, 2014
My grandma used to make this dish! The only difference was she sautéed onions in butter first, and then added the peas (she had fresh peas from the garden), milk, etc. This used to be one of my favorite meals!
Amanda H. January 4, 2014
Sauteed onions sound like a perfect addition!
jenniebites April 16, 2012
this was such a great addition to dinner tonight. thank you!
cattack November 26, 2011
I made these for Thanksgiving dinner. They were easy and delicious--the perfect light complement to a heavy meal!
Amanda H. November 26, 2011
This is one of those recipes that I wrote about and then forgot it -- thanks for reminding me. I like that you can use frozen peas this time of year. I might have to make it again -- maybe with Meyer lemon zest since it's in season. Glad you enjoyed it!
Flavors O. August 21, 2011
Simple and effective. Looks like a winner--I'll definitely try it
Droplet May 26, 2011
One of those simple and unpretentious, yet great recipes. Thank you for posting it.
Amanda H. May 30, 2011
You're welcome -- hope you'll give it a try!