Rotund little zipper peas are possibly my favorite field pea, sweetly round jewels of flavor. I just love the little creamy pop of summer in every bite. I buy them in bulk during the summer season, eat them right way and freeze a huge supply for the winter. Cooking with an onion, some garlic, a piece of bacon or country ham is my quick fix, but this rich creamy dish is an extra special treat. Make this part of a summer vegetable plate with sliced tomatoes, sauteed squash and onions, and whatever else you find at the farmers market. It’s perfect with grilled meat or barbecue (try this instead of baked beans) and oh my word with fried chicken. Frankly, I have been known to eat this as a meal.
I am fortunate enough to find zipper peas at my local farmers market, but I know they are also sold frozen (maybe as zipper cream or cream peas) at some grocery stores. You can also use this recipe for any field pea – purple hull, black eyed, lady, crowder – or green garden peas, fresh or frozen. I like a good smoky bacon with this for an extra verve, particularly when I find a double smoked bacon. Let the cream bubble away but watch it carefully and give it the occasional stir so it doesn’t scorch. I love some snipped chives over the top, but you can skip that, or thinly slice the green from the green onions. I don’t add garlic or a regular, stronger onion, because the pop of the zipper peas is the primary star here, with a supporting chorus from the bacon. My mouth is watering just writing this!
Bacon Creamed Zipper Peas
1 pound fresh zipped peas
8 strips of bacon
10 green onions, white and pale green parts
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon snipped chives
- Put the zipper peas in a small pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat, cover and cook until just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Cut the bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet. Cook until the bacon has rendered some fat and is starting to brown. Finely dice the green onions while the bacon is cooking. Use a large spoon to remove all but about 2 Tablespoons of fat from the pan, then add the green onions and sauté until soft and wilted and the bacon is crispy. Pour in the cream and bring to a bubble, then lower the heat to low and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the cooked zipper peas to coat with the cream, then season very generously with salt and pepper. Heat through. Snip the chives with scissors to fall over the top of the peas before serving.
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