If you had to pick one frozen vegetable, what would it be? Sarah in Baltimore
Dear Sarah in Baltimore,
Frozen vegetables rarely do it for me. That said, the convenience of frozen spinach, kale, and chard (which need only defrosting since they are as cooked as any leaf vegetable should be) is not to be ignored. And some frozen corn is good in a pinch. But the vegetable that's often better than fresh is tiny frozen organic peas. Chilled down and frozen right after picking, they hold every bit of the natural sugar that makes peas so loveable.
In the dead of winter a fresh pea is going to let you down. Then again, even in prime pea season, you may still want frozen if all you can find are fresh English-style peas. These are the old-fashioned garden peas without edible pods. As soon as they're pulled from the vine, their sugar begins to convert into starch – not a good thing. The sugar snap pea with its edible pod changed the pea world forever. In season, a fresh sugar snap holds its sweetness for a week or more in the refrigerator.
But when sugar snaps cannot be part of your life, have a stash of tiny sweet peas in the freezer. Trust me, they can turn a February supper into a hopeful moment.
BASIL-SCENTED SWEET PEA AND SPRING ONION SOUP
Serves 4 to 6
Copyright 2007 Lynne Rossetto Kasper