Peas Please! 18 Pea Recipes We Love

Slideshow SLIDESHOW: Peas Please! 18 Pea Recipes We Love

Most chefs will say there are only a couple of vegetables they will happily use frozen. Peas are usually at the top of that list, and for good reason. Not only does their small size allow them to freeze well with minimal compromise to flavor and texture, but they also happen to be one of the few vegetables that 95% of the year will taste better frozen.

That's because the moment you pluck pea pods from the vine, the sweet sugar inside the individual peas will start converting into starches. The difference between a fresh-picked pea and a day-old pea is easily noticeable (and we're talking both English peas, and their close cousin the sugar snap pea, though the former shows a more noticeable difference). So during the off-season, when fresh peas have to be shipped from faraway locations, by the time they reach your kitchen, they are bland, starchy, and not all that pleasant. Frozen peas, on the other hand, are flash frozen just after being picked, guaranteeing that they'll be sweet and tender when you cook them.

Of course, early spring is when this logic turns on its head. NOW is the time to get your butt over to a farmers' market to get some fresh peas, preferably picked that morning and cooked as soon as possible. Your taste buds will thank you.

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To get those salivary glands started, here are 18 pea recipes that will work with either fresh blanched peas, or with frozen peas (for you poor souls who don't have access to fresh). Click through the slideshow above, or jump straight to a recipe below.

Get the Recipes!

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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