Spring is here. On the sunny days it can feel like you’re standing on top of a mountain after a long hike. You made it. The air may be brisk, but it still feels crisp and clean: even in the city. For a moment you feel like you can do anything.
You’ve made it through the windburned cheeks, gray earth, and seemingly endless supply of winter squash. You’re ready for green: for fava beans, asparagus, and English peas. But this is New England. We have a good two months before we’ll see the likes of anything like that grown at an arm’s reach. Let’s face it.
Luckily, we’re a hardy bunch. We’ve been through worse. It’s rumored to snow tonight.
We’ve learned how to cope. We eat clam chowder. We wear coats the size of sleeping bags. We put long underwear on underneath our suit pants. We find ways to eat root vegetables that involve a shameful amount of cream. We carry on. We make do.
Which is just what I did over the weekend, when I was craving something green to usher in spring. I scoured the market for anything—imports included—that I could smash into a creamy green paste. I got a little ahead of myself. Other than some artichokes from California, I was pretty much out of luck in the seasonal green department.
So frozen peas it was. Which I didn’t feel too terrible about. Fresh peas are really best—and most sweet—on the day they are picked; it will be awhile before I snag them at the farmers’ markets here. (Sigh) So I turned to basil and a hint of pernod for some sweetness. Like I said, we make do. And sometimes we eat frozen peas dressed in basil leaves to usher in spring. Given that it’s been bitterly cold here, I suppose a pea with a little chill on it is fitting. We are straddling seasons, one foot in winter and one in spring.
But that’s springtime in New England. It keeps you guessing. Some days it brings you hope and some days it brings you frozen peas. Today, I’m just happy to have the peas.