While cooking, listen to this: Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler - Pink Martini
A lot of my stories start out with, "When I lived in Israel..." (the cleaner - most of the time - version of Alyson Hannigan's infamous "When I was at band camp..."). Usually they take place in Tel Aviv, but every once in a while a good one comes out of Jerusalem - Tel Aviv is just a much better city, in my opinion-that-is-also-a-fact. Feel free to fight me on this one. I'll win, but I welcome a challenge.
Anyway, hi! Where were we? Ah, yes. So when I was living in Jerusalem my friends and I would always go to this place called Cafe de Paris. It is amazing - if you are ever in Jerusalem, go there. Get the mushroom gnocchi or sweet potato salad or literally anything off the menu because it is so delicious. We probably went there at least twice a week, dining on shakshuka and salads and pretending terrorist attacks weren't happening two blocks away. Wine helped. A couple friends of mine - which is funny, because they're actually a couple - started ordering the fish and chips later in the year. Now, an important digression, and now that I write that I realize that this entire post so far is just made up of digressions, so bear with me. You may be thinking to yourself, "Okay, so Cafe de Paris probably serves like, food de Paris. What is fish and chips doing on their menu?" Excellent question, dear reader! If you have never been to Israel, time to learn a fun fact. For some inexplicable reason, many restaurants that claim to be one cuisine actually serve at least three. So, for example, the well-known sushi chain called Sushi Rehavia serves sushi, as well as pad thai and fried rice. No one knows why this is, but everyone goes with it. So, by Israeli menu logic, serving fish and chips at what sounds like a French restaurant is actually totally normal.
Okay, end of digression. Time to focus! So my friends order the fish and chips for the first time, and when it arrives there is this tiny bowl of bright green, well, mush. Being Americans, we all thought, "what the hell is that?" Some of us might have thought this aloud. I don't remember who we dared to try it, but whoever ate it did not do so willingly. Once they tried it though, they said something along the lines of "whoa wait the green mush is awesome." A winning description. We all dove in and practically licked that tiny bowl clean. That day, the UN came to life: Americans, in Jerusalem, at a "French" cafe, eating the British staple that is mushy peas. Not that I'm an expert peace-maker or anything, but maybe Great Britain should start bringing mushy peas to the General Assembly. Even if it doesn't fix much, it seems like a pretty tasty start.
This recipe is stupid easy to make, and takes no time at all to prepare. It is literally just peas (fresh or frozen, totally your call), water, lemon, butter and some salt. The color is gorgeous, the lemon is springy, and the butter is, well, butter. So it is perfect. I chose to use more lemon juice and butter than the Serious Eats recipe, but that's because I love both of those ingredients a not not embarrassing amount. So, use as little or as much as you like to make it taste perfect to you.
Because there are so few ingredients, make sure the ones you pick up are of the highest quality you can find and afford. It really makes all the difference! I love Kerrygold butter, but use the brand you love the most. And if you don't have a favorite brand of butter, I invite you to question your life choices.
Kidding. But seriously, you should be eating more butter. Apparently it isn't that bad for you!
Love and meows, Rina
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 15-20m
Category: Sides, Vegan-Friendly
Source: adapted slightly from Serious Eats
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the peas: In a small saucepan, place the peas, 2 tablespoons of butter, water and salt over medium-high heat. If using frozen, stir constantly until the peas are thawed and the butter is melted, about 15 minutes. If using fresh, this will take a bit less time.
Remove from heat and mash: use a potato masher or a wooden spoon, and mash those babies until you get your desired consistency. What this is is totally up to you - some people go as far as to borderline puree them in a food processor. I don't recommend this method, but to each their own.
Finish off the peas: Add the lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir until incorporated, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve: these make a great side to, obviously, fish and chips. Since this is a vegetarian (and not pescatarian) blog, I recommend serving these with any meal you would serve mashed potatoes with, or with your favorite comfort foods. Honestly, though, go rogue with these. Eat them alone. Use them as a moisturizer. Whatever comes to you, go with it.
To keep: you can keep these in the fridge for up to 1 week. Warm them up before serving or just eat them at room temperature.