A little over a month ago, Aaron and I went out for an indulgent mid-week dinner date at a Chicago restaurant we'd been wanting to try for ages. Pleasant House Pub is everything I hoped it would be. Warm, savory pies with all kinds of delicious extras and a beautiful interior to boot. It was the perfect place to go get warm and cozy during the subzero temperatures we were having at the time. Though I think it would be a great summer spot too - there's a beautiful outdoor area with hanging lights we passed on our way in that would be quite enticing had Chicago not been doing its best Arctic impersonation.
We started by splitting the Scotch egg appetizer, which I highly recommend. I've had a few very memorable Scotch eggs over the last few years, but I think this one takes the cake. We moved on to the Cornish pasty and the Steak and Ale pie for our mains - we split them so we each got to try a bit - and a side of fresh peas.
Now, everything about this meal was delicious, but the peas were what surprised us the most. I know it's strange to have peas be the most memorable part of a meal that contains the things listed above, but somehow they were. These peas. Seriously.
After Aaron had eaten a bite or two of them, he looked like he was trying to put words to something of great importance, but what came out was, "They're so... so... earnest."
I have no idea what specific factors determine the earnestness of a given set of peas, but this bowl was apparently brimming over with the trait. So when I decided to replicate them at home, of course they would forever be known as Earnest Peas.
yield: 10 oz peas
10 oz fresh peas (not in their pods)
2 TB finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 TB butter
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Bring a medium pot, filled about halfway full of water, to a simmer. Once it boils, turn off the heat and drop in the peas. Allow them to cook for approximately 2 minutes, or to your desired doneness. I prefer mine a bit softer for this recipe.
Drain the peas and then return to the pot.
Add the butter and stir over low heat until it has melted and coated all the peas.
Add the mint, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Toss until the peas are thoroughly coated.
Serve warm, topped with additional minced mint leaves.