I went to the farmers market this weekend and was surprised to find that the fruits and vegetables usually available this time of year were missing. We live at 7,000 feet, so the growing season is usually later than in other parts of the country. We also had a late spring, and things are just behind schedule. On top of that, I’ve recently visited farmers markets in Southern California, Texas, and Louisiana where the season is much further along.
The market did have a lot of greens and root vegetables, but not many stone fruits or tomatoes. I found a few heirloom tomatoes that had been grown under protective tents. I’m going to use those to make panzanella. I also found the first peaches of the season, and I plan to use those for my version of Strawn’s Café Famous Peach Ice Box Pie.
The big finds, though, were green shell peas and tiny new potatoes. When I was growing up, we always planted green peas by Saint Patrick’s Day to assure a good crop. Then, when they came in, my grandfather, father, and I would sit on the back step, eating them raw, fresh out of the pod. In the American South, green peas are called English peas to distinguish them from the black-eye, Crowder, purple hull, and cream peas that are so important there. I don’t know what the English call green peas. Maybe one of my blogger friends from the UK can help me out.
The freshly dug potatoes looked delicious, and at one stand they had been carefully sorted by size, so that one basket was filled with tiny potatoes no more than an inch and a half across and all practically the same size. Boiled new potatoes like those are among the luxuries of early summer.
All of that reminded me of one of my favorites of childhood: creamed peas, new potatoes, and pearl onions. So that’s what I made for supper. Even though that’s an old-timey dish, it was every bit as good as I remembered.
Creamed Peas, New Potatoes, and Pearl Onions
- 1 pound small new potatoes, washed
- 1 cup pearl onions, fresh or frozen
- 1½ pounds unshelled green peas, shelled
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil or to taste
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill fronds, snipped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes, return to the boil and cook until the potatoes are pieced with a cooking fork, about 20 minutes. They should be not quite cooked through.
- Add the pearl onions and return to the boil for another 5 minutes. Then add the peas and boil for another 5 minutes or until the peas are done. Drain.
- In the meantime, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour. The mixture should be foaming. Stir for a few minutes to cook the flour.
- Pour in the milk and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. It is alright if it begins to boil, but at that point remove from the heat.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and add sesame oil to taste. Be gingerly, as sesame oil can be overpowering. Stir in the snipped dill
- Pour the sauce over the drained vegetables. Mix until well combined. Serve immediately.
- Serves two to four as a side dish.