Another amazing example of this phenomenon? This past weekend at my best friend's very low key bachelorette gathering two nights before her wedding, four of us ladies met up in Scottsdale, Arizona at an establishment called Dos Gringos for dinner and drinks. We ordered Tecate Lights, a round of tequila shots, and the 7-layer dip. When it arrived, one of the ladies asked the server if she had any "raw vegetables" she could dip into the 7-layer dip, as she was, you know, trying to be healthy-ish by not eating 100 tortilla chips that night. Courtney, our super-friendly server explained straightly and sans irony: "We don't have any fresh vegetables." And then, "But you know what? I have these carrot chips I brought in to work. I can go in the back and grab them for ya."
"No, no, no, that's fine. I'm not going to take your carrot chips."
"No, seriously, I left them here two days ago, and I thought someone had thrown them away, but they're still here."
"That's really sweet, but—"
Two minutes later? We had a resealable bag of circular-cut carrots at our table. Bingo! The understandable downside to Courtney's display of generosity was that the other servers of Dos Gringos, who were apparently also fans of Courtney's personal bag of carrot chips, consistently helped themselves to the food on our table. But hey, when in Scottsdale!
Point being, don't sleep on pea season, people! Take advantage!Vegetable Literacy
1 cup high-quality ricotta cheese, such as hand-dipped full-fat ricotta
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
1 (heaping) tablespoon butter
2 large shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 pounds pod peas, shucked (about 1 cup)
grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt and pepper
chunk of Parmesan cheese, for grating
Heat the oven to 375F. Lightly oil a small baking dish; a round Spanish earthenware dish about 6 inches across is perfect for this amount.
If your ricotta is wet and milky, drain it first by putting it in a colander and pressing out the excess liquid. Pack the ricotta into the dish, drizzle a little olive oil over the surface, and bake 20 minutes or until the cheese has begun to set and brown on top. Cover the surface with the bread crumbs and continue to bake until the bread crumbs are browned and crisp, another 10 minutes. (The amount of time it takes for ricotta cheese to bake until set can vary tremendously, so it may well take longer than the times given here, especially if it wasn't drained.)
When the cheese is finished baking, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, and the lemon zest. Simmer until the peas are bright green and tender; the time will vary, but it should be 3 to 5 minutes. Whatever you do, don't let them turn gray. Season with salt and little freshly ground pepper, not too much.
Divide the ricotta between two plates. Spoon the peas over the cheese. Grate some Parmesan over all and enjoy while warm.