A 2008 back issue of Saveur that I flipped through over the weekend has me inspired.
Around that time, along with the usual beautiful photography, they were starting to focus more and more on ingredients and techniques, with the various cuisines of the world as context. This month they highlight crab, brown rice and southern peas (which, it turns out, are really beans).
The issue prompted me to stop by by Murphree’s Fruits And Vegetables, a coveted local source of freshly hulled peas. I picked up a pound each of fresh pink-eyed purple hull and cream peas. I packed them with a few bags of frozen peas for the trip back.
When I got back to Charleston late Friday night, I went right to work on a pasta dish featuring the peas.
I dropped a half pound or so of penne in boiling salted water. I simmered a big handful of peas with olive oil and white wine in a medium skillet until they were tender, about ten minutes. I pureed an heirloom tomato in the food processor, added that to the peas, seasoned everything with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a few red pepper flakes, and simmered the sauce until it thickened, another five minutes.
When the pasta was al dente, I crumbled a few ounces of feta and thinly sliced some basil. I added them both to the sauce along with the cooked pasta, and tossed everything together just until the feta melted a little.
The peas themselves were so delicious and fresh I almost wished I had cooked them alone; but the bright acidic tomato and earthy, salty feta complemented them well, and made for a satisfying post-travel meal.