To many of us, the idea of serving any vegetable mushy conjures up images of sad canned string beans and overcooked carrots. Mushy peas are miles away from both of those dishes—peas are cooked simply with butter, then mashed and seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper. The result is a simple bright side dish that comes together in no time at all, and adds vivid color and light flavors to any plate.
Traditionally, mushy peas are made with marrowfat peas, which are mature peas left to dry outside in the field. These days, it's simpler to find a bag of frozen peas to make this classic dish. Mushy peas are a usually found as a side for fish and chips, and if you're heading that way, there's nothing quite like a chunk of battered fish dipped in warm mushy peas. But in the spirit of British ingenuity, this simple side can be adapted into a heap of other dishes. Combined with a few drizzles of cream, it becomes a great sauce for some pasta; it makes a great filling for omelets; and can make a fantastic before-supper nibble spread on some toast and topped with some slivered ham.
- 1 pound frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, basil or sage (optional)
Place peas, 1 tablespoon butter and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often, until peas are thawed and soft and butter is melted, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mash peas with a potato masher or wooden spoon until desired consistency is reached.
Add lemon juice and remaining butter and mix until butter is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper adding optional herbs if using.