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I want to serve plain cooked frozen peas. However, whenever I try it, they taste kind of bland... What's a simple spice or ingredient that I can add to spice it up a bit, but still pretty much stick to the plain-peas idea?

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closed as not constructive by rumtscho Oct 9 '12 at 10:58

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13 Answers 13

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Since pure peas don't have a strong aroma, they are a perfect "substrate" for strong, characteristic herbs. It is something of a personal taste, but in this case, I wouldn't use a bouquet of herbs (which mask each other somewhat, leaving only the strongest notes discernible), but would seize the occasion to showcase all the nuances of a single herb, and not one which I use everyday either. For such a dish, I would definitely try to get my hands on a fresh bunch of the herb, to get all the aroma. I would complement it with a fat which brings its own taste.

There are lots of different herbs with a strong aroma. As the peas' basic taste doesn't include sour, they appear somewhat bland, so they are well complemented by herbs which bring a fresh taste (people usually associate sour taste with freshness, and this is missing here). This narrows the circle of herbs available. Out of the stuff I have in my (very european) kitchen, I would opt for summer savory as a perfect match and spearmint or thyme following closely. Basil or lemon balm or marjory are still OK, but not the best. I cannot help you with Asian spices that well, but if you can think of something neither overpowering (like bay leaf) nor too subtle (like tarragon), it will probably work. Or douse it in pomelo juice instead of a herb, to get both aroma and a sour tang.

As for the fat, butter always works well with peas, but such a simple aromatic dish is the perfect way to bring the best out of an exotic oil which is too good for dumping in a pot where it would go under. I would make a choice based on the herb, but avocado oil and macadamia oil come to mind. (If you don't have such exotic oils at home, go with butter. It is not worth buying them if you don't use them for other recipes).

I would add a very small amount of salt and no "everyday" spices like pepper, onions, etc. Just peas, a herb and an oil.

What I describe here will have lots of aroma, but not a strong taste. If you don't like that kind of food, it is safer to go the onion/butter route others have mentioned. In such a case, I would throw in a dairy product. Practically any cheese* or yogurt (or sour cream, or zaziki, whatever you can think of) will create an interesting combination, and there is nothing for it to clash with.

*with the exception of processed "cheese"

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Mint is a very common english flavor for peas. –  yossarian Feb 28 '11 at 20:54
@yossarian I didn't know that, maybe I should have said "my very continental european kitchen". But I have been thinking about learning a bit English cuisine, and this comnination sounds like one more reason to do it. –  rumtscho Feb 28 '11 at 22:41
@yossarian: So much so, that "minted peas" can be bought frozen just about everywhere you can buy peas. I like it a bit too much mind, and put mint sauce on my peas. :-/ –  Orbling Mar 1 '11 at 2:32

We always prepare our peas with little chunks of onion.

If you still aren't satisfied, you can prepare all of this in a bit of butter.

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A few things that work great on frozen peas, while still making you think of peas as the main flavor:

  • salt and butter
  • salt and a little sugar
  • a little bouillon (chicken or beef)
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Anything fatty and salty. Butter and bacon or ham lardons always make peas taste much better.

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We're nearing springtime so a fresh herb would make a great compliment. Personally, I prefer butter with my peas and selected herb. Fresh tarragon with peas makes an interesting but pleasing combination that reflects springtime freshness. When cooked tarragon is subtle but would add just enough flavor to brighten up the palate while still allowing the vegetable to shine through.

If you want a warmer flavor consider looking into a curry blend. You can mix that spice blend into the butter and toss it with the peas. I think it depends on what else you're serving for dinner and your own tastes.

Have fun experimenting!

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I usually do a variation on the classic "Braised peas with onion and lettuce." Here's a Jamie Oliver recipe for a quick version of the same, but it doesn't look that appealing to me. Heh.

What I usually do is just toss the onions in some butter for a minute, then throw in some lettuce, and the frozen peas. Salt and pepper, good to go.

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a mix of equal amounts (1/4 tsp?) of salt, pepper, cardamom, and marjoram is my fave, with some parsley and chives added in (to taste) as well.

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My standby for peas is peanut butter, a little of cider or rice vinegar, soy sauce, turmeric, salt, and garlic. It creates a sweet and savory peanut satay sauce when mixed together with moisture from the peas. Also, it's the polar opposite of bland.

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Best of all is the classic French recipe - lardons, tiny onions, lettuce, pinch sugar, salt, braised in the oven. Heaven with fresh peas.

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A little balsamic vinegar is also good with peas, just don't overdo it.

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An absolute winner with peas (that you can rustle up in about 30 seconds) is a little chopped mint, and a spoon full of basil pesto. It's fantastic!

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Quick and easy: cook peas in white wine add spring onions, finish off with a knob of butter when cooked.

Quicker and easier: stir in mint jelly out of a jar.

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  1. Light coating olive oil (first), then freshly ground black pepper and over-the-counter herbes de Province (or your own if you have all of the components) to taste.

  2. Light olive oil, ground sea salt, your choice of grated (real, not that boxed stuff) cheese - my favorites include Parmesan and Gruyere.

  3. Melted butter, paprika, some white pepper, and a modest addition of either basil or marjoram (fresh marjoram is a really unsung (often spicy) herb).

PS - I really like the peanut butter, etc. recipe!

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