Any time we send out fresh English peas (in this recipe or this one), we write this instruction: shell the peas.
That means you’re left with a big pile of empty pea shells, once you’ve turned the treasured sweet peas inside into part of a pasta or spring veggie sauté.
But just because they’re empty doesn’t mean they’re worthless. Get that idea out of your head. Just like the peas inside, the pea shells contain spring’s flavors (and spring’s nutrients). With a few extra steps, you can turn the shells into a gorgeous green puree to use in sauces and pasta dishes–or even as part of a cocktail! First step: reserve those shells instead of throwing them away.
Next, blanch the pea shells by adding them to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then, transfer the peas to a blender.
You’ll puree the blanched pea shells with a little bit of the blanching water…
Once smoother, you want to strain the puree right into a bowl that’s set over another bowl full of ice water. Chilling the puree immediately preserves the bright green colors. Otherwise, the puree will turn army green or brown!What you’ll have in the bowl–that’s’ your emerald green pea shell puree.
Here are a few suggestions for using your I-didn’t-waste-a-drop pea puree:
• Fold into pasta dishes
• Combine with ricotta cheese and spread onto bread as a crostini
• Use as a sauce
• Use as a garnish
• Special cocktails
• Mix into smoothies or juices