Some people find it tedious, but I think there’s something very relaxing about shelling peas. Sitting with a couple of bowls in front of me, paring knife in one hand to nip off the stems, pulling the strings down, then gently prying open the pod and working the little peas out – it’s meditative. We’ve generally got a bag or two of frozen peas in the freezer year-round, but in springtime, when sweet fresh peas hit the market, I can’t get enough of them and I look forward to the shelling.
I whipped up my basic risotto last night, stirring in about a cup and a half of fresh peas and an equal amount of chopped asparagus with the last addition of liquid. I also added the zest of a lemon, but the flavor didn’t pop like I wanted it to, so next time I do this dish (which should be soon – Mike has requested a do-over in a week or two), I will likely add some fresh lemon juice in addition to the zest. A generous grating of salty Pecorino Romano provided a nice counterpoint to the sweet peas and earthy asparagus.