Remember those bags of frozen peas, corn, and carrots, where each bit of vegetable was the same size and roughly the same hue? Do they still exist? We had them a lot in the early 90s – it seems everyone did – and the watery corn tasted just like the watery carrots which were the same texture as the peas, and it was weird. To this day I’m not really sure how I feel about corn. Still, I always have a huge bag of frozen peas on hand. Mostly because I am clumsy and bump into things a fair bit, and because I am an arthritic old lady and a bag of peas is better and cheaper than an ice pack. It’s also easier to justify a big bowl of fluffy, buttered white rice if you throw a handful of peas into the pot right at the end. And peas and carrots – well, you know how they go together.
Carrots are just like candy right now, brightly coloured and sugar-sweet. There are bunches in every shade of red, orange, and yellow – I’ve been buying them up and hording them for snacktime, but they are magic cooked in a bit of butter and tossed with coarse salt, black pepper, and fresh herbs. Go get some for yourself, and turn them into a simple side. You’ll find this dish is a huge improvement on that childhood dinner staple, with no frozen niblets to yuck it up.
Peas and carrots
(Serves four as a side.)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups chopped carrots, 1/4-inch thick (the smaller ones sold by the bunch are best)
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. crumbled dried mint
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium frying pan, heat butter and oil over medium-high until butter melts and begins to bubble. Add carrots, and cook until just soft, stirring frequently, six to eight minutes. Add peas and cook for an additional five minutes. Peas should be soft but still bright.
Add parsley and mint, and salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.