Saffron-chèvre peas

My husband recently confessed to me that he loves and misses peas. Yes, peas. I’m not sure why it is that it never occurred to me to make them — partly because they’re kind of sweet, and I used to have a mild aversion to sweet vegetables (remedied by wonderful squash soup and parsnip purée recipes), and I think because I’m a bit of a snob about only getting fresh not frozen veggies when possible. And peas are usually frozen. (This recipe uses frozen peas, anyway.) But he recently brought home a deli dish of a cold pea salad with cream and onion, and I went nuts for it. So I decided to try my hand at my own variation. Et voilà !

1 shallot (or one bulb if it’s a large shallot)
about 1 Tbsp butter
about 5 Tbsp milk, to taste (I use whole un-homogenized)
about 3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 pinch saffron threads (about 10 threads total)
1 bag frozen peas
About 3 Tbsp un-flavored chèvre (creamy goat’s cheese)

Finely mince the shallot, or if you prefer the texture, leave it in rings.

Sautée the shallot in butter and a tiny bit of salt until brown and beginning to become translucent. Add in the milk and the cream and simmer a bit. Add in saffron threads, adjusting quantity for desired saffronicity — but remember, it takes a while for the full flavor to “bloom” so start small. I added my saffron in two batches.

Then, while the saffron-milk sauce is very gently simmering, cook a package of microwave peas to half finished (my directions said to microwave covered with a bit of water; I just zapped for 3-4 min. instead of 6-8). Remove with slotted spoon and add to saffron mixture.

Crumble up the chèvre and toss it into the mixture, in three batches, mixing as it simmers and waiting for it to fully melt before adding the next batch. Stir the mixture constantly on low heat until the peas begin to soften and a few start to burst ever so slightly.

Of COURSE we ate them before we remembered to take a picture. They go great with ham steak, though.

Prosciutto & Fig Primo at Pagliacci

I’ve never been a huge fig person before — not because I don’t like them, per se, but more because I have no idea whether I like them or not. I guess they don’t seem to have a particularly distinctive flavor, at least according to my palate. I know they’re all the rage with foodies, though, and I was feeling hungry, bored and adventurous. And Grant was off at some football thing, so I was left to myself to figure out dinner plans.

Enter Pagliacci. Their current seasonal offering is the Prosciutto Fig Primo, and it made my mouth water when I heard the description over the phone (text doesn’t do it justice):

The thought of a sweet fruit on a pizza is often considered a foreign concept. We pushed the boundaries of pizza making with our Pear Primo and thanks to its continued popularity, we knew figs could be a hit too. We combine figs with prosciutto, basil and fresh mozzarella on an olive oil base for the perfect balance of lightly sweet and salty flavor.

Our usual standard is their Parma Primo, which has prosciutto plus basil, tomato, olive oil, mushrooms, fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese on an olive oil base. So this was close to home while still being adventurous and fun. And I actually think there’s a higher ratio of prosciutto to other stuff with this special.

At the end of the day, the fig primo had definitely won me over, even though it was a bit pricier than our usual (extremely expensive) favorite. The only improvement I would make is to add some tomatoes.  It was so very sweet that it seemed like it could use something tangy to balance it all out.  Still, it turns out that a) I like figs in some contexts, and b) I’m not yet over the fruity pizza trend.  Mmm mmm!