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The Secret Ingredient

The Secret Ingredient (Turmeric): Maman's Yellow Peas and Onions

The Secret Ingredient (Turmeric): Maman's Yellow Peas and Onions

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

My mother has been making these peas my entire life. They are one of the dishes I call home ahead about. "Mom, I'm coming home next week. Will you make your peas and onions?" I'm not sure why she makes them. They're not particularly French. Or complicated. But they are special—soft, sweet, savory.

Turmeric doesn't often stand alone. It's the cheap color substitute for saffron, or one in many ingredients in a curry. It's rarely special and remarkable. But in these peas, it's the main flavor, the headliner. That smell like toasting earth, intense as its color. Toasted in olive oil, mixed together with peas and sweet, soft onions. That's the dish. Serve with baguette, and you'll be a turmeric convert.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.

The Secret Ingredient (Turmeric): Maman's Yellow Peas and Onions

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:5 minutes
Total time:55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 pounds frozen peas
  • Salt

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the oil in a wide, high-sided sauté pan over high heat. Add the onions, and sauté until soft, stirring often for up to 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, and stir into the onions. Add the peas, and season with salt. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, on medium-high to high heat, for 40 minutes. Serve with warm, crusty baguette.

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