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Use up those frozen peas in savory pancakes for brunch or dinner

A bag of frozen peas belongs in every freezer.

You might sprain your toe (painful for at least a good month) and a bag of frozen peas make a decent ice pack that conforms to the shape of your foot. Not that I would know. A bag of frozen peas, quick to thaw, is more importantly always ready to perk up a meal. Stir it into pasta and dinner is instantly more vivid and appealing. Or you could make a quick soup that tastes like it cooked for much longer than it did. You could purée the peas with mint and olive oil to create a stunning spread for bruschetta.

Just make sure to always keep a bag in the freezer.

My new favorite way to use them is to make cheesy, browned pancakes studded with bright green peas. Spring is still technically around for a couple more weeks, and don't you forget we haven't reached our humidity high yet. Still, time already seems to have slowed down for summer as it's evident in my dwindling morning commute. Let's keep the spirit of spring going just a little longer. Serve grilled asparagus with dinner and grab ramps or rhubarb without hesitation if you see them. You won't see them again for a while.

Then, make these spring onion and pea pancakes. They're a meal for a late Saturday afternoon needing a satisfying yet light lunch.

I swapped in whole milk ricotta for low-fat cottage cheese. Wouldn't you? The batter whips up to a smooth and luxurious consistency that you'd swear is pudding. It's pretty. Ricotta makes the pancakes tender as there's quite a bit of cheese considering the small amount of flour.

The peas burst as you bite into them. The spring onions aka scallions add a great savory note to counter the slight sweetness of the peas.

We skipped the melted butter drizzle and crumbled more ricotta over the pancakes, but I don't think you can go wrong either way. Next time I'll serve them with a side salad of arugula or crispy kale. Danny thinks they'd be great on the side of slow-roasted pork or lamb. Bon Appetit suggests topping the pancakes off with smoked salmon and serving them as appetizers. You could also put an egg on it because that makes anything a meal.

And when spring truly fades away, just remember that you can serve these pancakes any old weekend. Frozen peas are good year round.

Ileana Morales is a freelance writer who cooks in a small apartment kitchen in Tampa with boyfriend Danny Valentine, an education reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. For more of their kitchen adventures, visit Ileana's blog, alittlesaffron.com. She can be contacted at alittlesaffron@gmail.com.

>>MODERATE

Spring Onion and Pea Pancakes

1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 cup ricotta

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the skillet

4 spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

¼ cup (½ stick) salted butter, melted (optional)

If using fresh peas, cook in a small saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Frozen peas only need to be drained and left on the counter to thaw for a bit.

Purée eggs, ricotta, flour, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer batter to a medium bowl and stir in peas and scallions. If the batter is too thick to pour, stir in water a tablespoon at a time to thin it out to the right consistency.

Heat a lightly oiled large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4-cupfuls of batter to the skillet, two at a time. They should spread out to about 4-inch pancakes, and you can use a spoon to spread it out if needed or to make sure you get thinner pancakes. Cook until bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Serve pancakes drizzled with melted butter and garnished generously with scallions. You might want some more ricotta on the side, too.

Serves 3 to 4.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit

Use up those frozen peas in savory pancakes for brunch or dinner 06/04/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 10:09am]
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