The picky eight-year-old picks peas and proof that our house really is yellow
This year, aside from tomatoes and zucchini, the veggie I most wanted to plant in our garden was peas. I told my spouse this, and he carried out my wishes, even building a nice big trellis for the peas to crawl up. When the actual pea pods started to show on the plant, though, something was wrong with them. They weren't fat enough. I asked Tobias what kind of peas he had planted. He planted snow peas. Not shelling peas. Not risi-i-bisi peas, not sit-at-the-kitchen-table-and-bond-with-your-daughter-as-you-shell-a-mountain-of-garden-fresh-peas peas. Nope, snow peas, the kind you don't shell. The kind where the actual pea part is so small that you have to eat the pod or else you're stuck eating nearly nothing.
But don't get me wrong: we both love snow peas. Eaten straight off the plant they are at their best: sweet and juicy. It's just not what I envisioned for my Summer of Peas. And also, what the heck do you do with them anyway? Aside from just steaming them and serving them hot with melting butter, I mean.
Inspiration struck in the grocery store when I saw some black tiger prawns going cheap. I've seen prawns and peas as a combo on lots of Chinese restaurant menus but never ordered them. I wasn't sure what seasonings to use, but I knew I wanted ginger. Here is the result:
250g snow peas with strings removed and chopped in half
20 black tiger prawns, shelled and veined
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
3/4 cup orzo
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1-2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the orzo and toss to coat with the melted butter. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oils in a wok or large frying pan. Add the ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes. Add the peas and cook for five minutes, or until the peas are slightly softened, but still a bit crunchy. Now add the prawns and cook until they're nice and opaque and curled up and prawn-coloured.
Scrape the orzo into the pan with the prawns and peas and stir over low heat. Add your sauces and adjust the quantities to suit you.
Serves two ravenous adults, or two adults, one picky-eight-year-old and one 19-month-old that's already stuffed himself on blueberries.
There are tonnes of variations on this theme. I wanted to make it a bit more spicy with hot chili sauce, but I was out of that particular condiment. Another thing I want to try is black bean and garlic. You could also try it with spring onions and chopped garlic along with the ginger, and leave out the sauces.
I had intended to make this as a regular stir fry and serve it over rice, but I got to thinking about how long it'd been since I'd participated in Presto Pasta Night, and this was inspiration enough to try the orzo version. An Italo-Chinese fusion dish!
Thanks to Ruth for keeping on keeping on with the PPNs.