At the farmers market this weekend, I was scouting for fresh peas. I love them but can’t afford to buy them at the store very often; I’m really going to have to break down and grow some for myself at some point. I thought I had hit the mother lode this time when I saw a sign for zipper peas at my favorite stall.
Of course, when I got home, I started looking up just what zipper peas were and discovered that they’re more like blackeyed peas than snap peas. I’m not really a fan of blackeyed peas, so this was kind of depressing. Plus, I couldn’t find any recipes to start with that weren’t soup, which was really not what I was in the mood for.
Fortunately I finally found a suggestion in the comments on a blog. With an added suggestion from a Facebook friend, I ended up with a dish that blew blackeyed peas out of the water. I ate it as an entree because I was lazy, but it would be a good side dish, too.
Zipper Pea Bang-Up (serves two)
1 lb zipper peas (weight before shelling)
1 clove garlic
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 bay leaf
Pepper to taste
‘Unzip” and shell the peas (There’s a fiber running the length of each pea pod that you pull to open the pod — if you’re lucky. Only some of mine unzipped properly.). Rinse them and cull out any broken ones.
In a medium sauce pan, heat about a half-tablespoon of olive oil, then add the bacon and cook until crispy. Stir in the peas, garlic, bay leaf, and pepper. Simmer for about ten minutes, then add the tomatoes. Simmer for another five to ten minutes until the peas are good and tender.