This post shares a recipe and a journey. Probably more journey than recipe.
First, you need to know my dear friend Nicki. At first glance, Nicki appears funny, gorgeous, and smart. But, beware. She’s also a covert, food-challenging instigator of kitchen madness. It’s important to know that up front, as her covert ways sent me spiraling into a pea perfection obsession.
You are now ready for the dramatic story of AMAZEBALLS and proof that three times is a charm.
It all started at a monthly board meeting. I arrived early. I should have known then, something in the universe was off. Notwithstanding the unusual timeliness of my arrival, I sat across from Nicki who was happily munching away on perfect, crunchy, little, green, balls. ”Hey Alison! Try these!” So, I did. It was like a ball-shaped potato chip – salty and crunchy. ”They’re roasted green peas with salt, I got ‘em at Cook’s Fresh Market.”
Seemed innocent enough.
Then she said …WAIT FOR IT… “You should put these on your blog.”
Sold. It seemed easy enough. I thought, “I’ll just pop online, grab a recipe, and figure this out. Done and done. Good idea! I love a ‘challenge’ “.
Six pounds of peas, $10, 4 hours of oven time, and 3 weeks was all it took to lick this “easy” challenge.
I know what you are thinking: how hard can it be? Just shut it. Google it yourself. What will you find? Many many recipes for various varieties of roasted peas complete with VASTLY different preparations that do not relate to one another. Sooo helpful. Not.
It wasn’t long before my pea dilemma carried over to my work and personal life. Whilst whining about my “pea problem” to a friend, he suggested I use a “steam oven”. A what?? That’s the only suggestion you have? Even if I knew what that was, how would I gain access to a special oven? Nope. I refused to believe this snack could be that complicated.
Even my own mother told me to “give it up”. Sounded like another challenge to me. So naturally, I bought another bag of peas. All I could think was, “I’m gonna conquer those peas and then I’m going to rant about it. I don’t care how many peas get burned. This is happening.” Even my supportive Andy asked that I continue my journey in my own kitchen (translation: my house smells like burnt peas, please take the crazy elsewhere).
To all of the naysayers and “the challenger”, I say to you – the peas that eluded me for weeks are now mine. They may not be pretty and green like the ones from the market (which is kind of shady, to be honest**), but they are crunchy and delicious. AND, my work audience loved them; so, you know they are good.
To the first two rounds of pea-martyrs: thank you for sacrificing your little green selves so that I could achieve the AMAZEBALLS (also known as round three).
**Let it be known that I have big plans to interview the market that makes these in-house. Everything I’ve read states that as you roast the peas, they will turn brown. Are you or are you not seeing green – perfectly green – peas in the photo above? That’s what I thought. I will investigate and report back.
In the meantime…
Behold! The how-to guide for roasting green peas. I roasted them with salt. But really, you can use any spice. Once I get a little distance from this project and/or the memory of this journey dims, I intend to experiment with garlic salt, chili powder, and paprika. Also (I am guessing) you can probably roast shelled edamame using this recipe. I haven’t tried it. Feel free to do so at your own risk (but, don’t consider it a challenge).
What you need:
- a bag of frozen peas, thawed overnight in the fridge.
- 1.5 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of kosher or other coarse grain salt
(As previously mentioned, feel free to experiment with spices here and definitely add more salt to taste)
1. Place one of the racks in your oven just one above the middle rung.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
3. In a bowl, combine the peas, oil and salt.
4. Spread the pea mixture in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Use the back of a spoon or your hand to pat them down.
5. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. You’ve got to watch the peas. Every oven is different and these guys can start burning in a flash. I also recommended removing the baking sheet every ten minutes to give it a little shake – keeps the peas from sticking too much.
6. Once the peas start to brown and are hard to the touch (using something other than your finger – hello, HOT!) set them aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
7. After 10 minutes transfer the peas carefully to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil and to complete the cooling process.
8. Once cool, taste them and add additional salt if desired.