Like many kids, I hated vegetables. Well, fresh vegetables were okay - tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots. But cooked? Yuck!
My mom had a rule for vegetables that I didn't like: I had to eat three of whatever was being served. Three green beans. Three cooked carrots. Three peas. You'd think that eating three peas would be a trivial event. They are so small, after all. Open wide and swallow. All done. But no, it was pure torture. I had to sit at the table (or couch — we ate a lot in the living room) until I ate those peas. I'd stare at those peas for a really really long time, screw up my face, and tentatively take a bite. It was the texture, more than the taste. The skin, followed by mushy insides. (grossed out yet?) I remember one particularly large pea that I just couldn't eat on a night when we were going to the movies. Mom threatened that if I didn't eat that pea, she'd go to the movies without me. Oh, the torture.
So I hated peas for many years until a friend introduced me to freshly shelled peas, boiled briefly, then tossed with some butter and a little salt. The brief cooking preserved a more pleasing firm texture, and their fresh almost nutty flavor shone. And, well, just about everything tastes better with butter.
It's fresh pea season. Probably the tail end of fresh pea season. So grab them while you can. You can boil them up (but not too long!) and toss them with some butter and salt, or add an Asian twist...
Peas with Sesame Oil
freshly shelled peas
sea salt to taste
Boil peas until just done (or done to your preferred amount of done-ness). Drizzle a teaspoon or two of sesame oil, add some sea salt, and toss.
Or for a spicy ma la style...
Peas with Sichuan Peppercorns
freshly shelled peas
1/2 up to 2 tsp (or more?) sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground. Adjust the amount depending on how big a batch of peas you're doing
1/2 tsp or so ground sichuan chilies (i.e. "facing heaven" chilies) or some cayenne (again, adjust amount)
peanut oil or vegetable oil
salt to taste
Boil peas until almost done. Heat a bit of oil in a wok until almost smoking. Add chili powder. Stir fry for a few seconds. Add Sichuan peppercorns. Stir fry another few seconds. Add the peas and stir fry very briefly to coat them with the seasonings. Salt to taste, if you think they need salt.