Purple Haze: Fresh Field Pea Recipe

How many times have you gone to a farm stand or farmers' market, loaded up with great-looking fresh produce -- and then let it sit around in your refrigerator until it turned brown? It used to happen to me all the time. So I went on a freshness campaign and started cooking everything immediately. That's why I decided to have a bowl of purple hull peas for breakfast this morning. I tried to share, but my housemates just looked up from their Cheerios long enough to tell me I was crazy.

I usually fry bacon and use chicken stock when I make peas, but I was a little groggy this morning after the Memorial Day festivities. So I just boiled a cup or so of peas and skimmed off the gray scum. Then I turned them down to a simmer and added a little celery. After 15 minutes, when they were tender, I garnished them with green onions. They tasted great with toasted and buttered jalapeño cheese bread and sweet coffee.

Here's a proper recipe if you want to serve fresh peas for dinner.

Fresh Field Peas (from the Texas Cowboy Cookbook)

1 pound black-eyed, purple hull, lady creamer or other fresh field peas (about 3 cups) 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 small onion, chopped 2 cups chicken stock 2 cups water Salt and pepper to taste Tabasco sauce

Rinse and drain the peas. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until it begins to brown, about four minutes. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about three minutes. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the peas to the stock and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes or until peas are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with Tabasco sauce.

Serves 6.

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