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Small Plates: Green Pea Hummus

This post is part of our Small Plates series, which is brought to you by California Pizza Kitchen.

Green Pea Hummus. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

There are few foods that can withstand the abuse of the freezer and emerge from the other end essentially undamaged. If there's one thing that Clarence Birdseye should be thanked for, it's frozen peas.

The problem with peas is that the moment they're picked from the pod, their natural sugars start combining and converting into starches. Peas eaten one day out of the pod taste significantly less sweet and more starchy than fresh-picked peas. What does this mean for you? It means that unless you've got a pea plant growing in your backyard, a good, sweet, fresh pea is nearly impossible to come by.

Frozen peas, on the other hand, are rapidly chilled right after shucking, locking their sugars in place. Large vegetables can freeze slowly, encouraging the formation of cell-damaging ice crystals, and ruining their crisp texture. Because of their diminutive size, peas don't suffer from this problem.

In Simple Italian Snacks, Jason Denton and Kathryn Kellinger offer a simple recipe for Sweet Pea Bruschetta, in which frozen peas are pureed with olive oil before being spread on toast. Tasting the spread instantly brought to mind another puree of pulses and olive oil: hummus.

Lighter, fresher, and just a little bit yuppier than the chickpea and tahini-based original, Green Pea Hummus is like the Pinkberry of the hummus world.

Green Pea Hummus

About the author: Become a fan of The Food Lab on Facebook for play-by-plays on future kitchen tests and recipe experiments. After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife, where he runs a private chef business, KA Cuisine, and co-writes the blog about sustainable food enjoyment.

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