Smashed Peas with Mint
Seriously? You guys know me: This is kind of not my style.
Where’s the butter? Where’s the bacon? Why is there no wine? Why does this seem…healthy? Who are you and what have you done with The Mouse?
To me, edamame (a.k.a. soybeans) are those little salty pods that you nibble on when you’re out for Japanese and you’re waiting for your sushi to show up.
So, when I saw this recipe recently in Better Homes & Gardens, I was kind of surprised that I couldn’t couldn’t stop staring at the picture. It was a bowl of mashed peas and soybeans, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
Visual critter that I am, I knew I had to make it. The stuff was just so vibrantly GREEN. If I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, I reasoned, I could admire it, photograph it, then pawn it off on one of my veggie-loving friends.
But. (You know where this is going.)
I liked this stuff so much that I didn’t want to share.
I liked this stuff so much that I ate an embarrassing amount of it. With a spoon. Standing barefoot at my kitchen counter.
The whole time, I was thinking, this is like mashed potatoes, but it’s all green and good for you.
I swear, this stuff fulfills your craving for some kind of mashed-potato-like substance—but it’s better for you, and actually packs a lot of protein because you use a combination of sweet peas and edamame.
So how does it taste?
These smashed peas are smooth and earthy. Fresh lemon juice and mint add a little brightness and freshly cracked black pepper gives it a subtle heat. A handful of chopped green onion provides just a little onion-y bite. It gets a generous drizzle of fruity olive oil right before serving.
To my vegetarians friends: I think I get the soybean thing now. At least a little better. (Sigh. I know, it takes me forever to figure this stuff out.)
The original recipe from Better Homes serves this with ricotta toasts, which looked really good. I just didn’t get that far.
What kind of peas and soybeans should I buy?
Frozen ones. No joke. I picked up a package of Cascadian Farm Sweet Peas…
…and some Seapoint Farms edamame for the soybeans. I found both in the natural food section of my local Stop & Shop. Whichever brand of soybeans you buy, be sure to get the shelled kind. This is an easy recipe, in part, because there’s very little prep.
What’s the difference between edamame and soybeans?
Good question. And the answer is: Not much.
Edamame are basically baby soybeans. (Edamame is the Japanese word for soybean.) They’re picked when they’re immature and fill about 80 percent of their pod, which means that they’re still plump and green and relatively sweet.
Regular soybeans are dry and hard because they’re allowed to mature fully in their pods. You need to soak them just like dried beans before you can deal with them in the kitchen.
I won’t go on about the health benefits of soybeans, but they’re packed with protein, low in carbs, and are generally thought to be a heart-healthy food.
Smashed Peas with Mint
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
20 oz. frozen sweet peas
16 oz. frozen shelled edamame
freshly cracked black pepper
juice from 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 scallion, sliced into rings
5-6 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Serves 6-8 as a side
Simmer the peas and edamame
Bring a large pan with about a half-inch of water in it to a simmer on the stove. When the water is simmering, toss in the frozen sweet peas and edamame. No need to thaw them first. (If they’re frozen together in clumps in the bag, knock it against your counter a few times to loosen them up.)
Simmer them for about 5 minutes, until tender. (Yank one out of the pot and give it a nibble. You’ll know when you bite into it if it’s still kind of hard and raw.)
When they’re done, drain them well in a colander.
Puree the peas and edamame
When they’re well drained, toss the little green guys into your food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, I’m reasonably sure you could do this with a potato masher and a little elbow grease.)
Process them on high until they’re smashed to bits. You may need to stop once or twice and scrape down the sides of your bowl. When they’re fairly mashed up, squeeze in the lemon.
Puree again on high to incorporate the lemon juice. In terms of consistency, you’re aiming for a chunky paste. Some leftover bits of peas are fine, but you should be able to spread it on a piece of toast with a knife.
Season the smashed peas
Toss in the garlic powder and some kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. (Start with a little, add more after you taste.)
Mix together until uniform. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Drizzle with good, fruity olive. Serve warm or at room temp.