Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt

After the second night of eating out and one exasperated text away from throwing in towel and admitting yet another dinner defeat, I turned on the stove and grabbed a few simple ingredients to form some sort of dinner. We are trying to eat out less after all, and three nights in a row did seem a bit much, even for me.

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately – not eager to dive into the kitchen when it’s dinner time and not feeling the usual bit of glee when Jacques Pepin appears on TV to teach me the wonders of classic French cooking.

Just like any relationship, mine with food has its peaks and valleys. There are times when I’m madly in love with food. She’s all I can think about, and recipes pour out of me like velvety caramel. Other times it’s as dry as that loaf of bread I just threw out – too lazy to even make breadcrumbs.

The thing is, all relationships take intention, work and commitment. I’ve been in love with food long enough to know that my feelings flutter and then cease in different seasons. When I’m feeling uninspired I trust that excitement will once again strike but sometimes my creativity needs a bit of a nudge.

Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt

When I’m in the midst of a rut and am feeling tired with my cooking I push myself to try new things. A couple weeks ago I picked up the cookbook, Cairo Kitchen, because I know nothing about Egyptian cooking. Its exotic ingredients and flavor combinations have ignited many of our meals and have been the basis for several dinner parties. I’ve become enamored with dried mint, stunned by sumac and possibly have gone a bit overboard with Nigella seeds.

So I seek out new ingredients, new spices, new cuisine and new techniques to refuel our romance. With a bit of intention and stepping out of the mundane and into something exciting, my creativity is ignited and once again food and I are in a passionate romance.

That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with Frontier Co-op to bring you all and quite frankly, myself, inspiration for fresh ways to dress up the season’s produce with fragrant herbs and spices.

These peas are just the sort of recipe that lift me out of the doldrums and get my mind reeling with ideas. It’s crazy simple, uses only a few ingredients and yet tastes far more complicated.

First, the peas are quickly blistered in a hot pan with a bit of oil. At the last minute, a few pea shoots are thrown in – quite possibly my favorite spring ingredient. I love their tender sweet leaves, their light grassy flavor and the way the curled tendrils look on a plate. The hot peas lay on a bed of cool crème fraîche and are simply adorned with lemon zest, poppy seeds and a bit of flaky salt.

Over the next month, I’ll be exploring more creative ways to prepare seasonal produce on my and Frontier’s Instagram accounts. I’d love to hear about your ideas as well!

Follow along for ideas and to share your own recipes and ideas using the hashtag #SpiceUpSummer.

Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt

Blistered Peas with Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups sugar snap peas

2 cups pea shoots

3 ounces creme fraiche

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

flake salt


Add the olive oil to a large skillet set over high heat. When the oil shimmers add the peas in a single layer.

Cook until golden in parts and their green color turns bright, about 3 minutes.

Add the pea shoots and give a quick stir.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the crème fraîche to a platter then place the peas on top of that.

Finish with the lemon zest, poppy seeds and flake salt.

Enjoy right away.


20 Responses to “Blistered Peas with Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds”

  1. Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish

    Great post, Ashley! Was so excited to read that you are exploring Egyptian cooking; and even more thrilled to hear you call the cuisine of my childhood “exotic.”
    But I so appreciate your honesty about your relationship with food, and the peaks and valleys you experience. I can absolutely relate!

  2. Sasha Swerdloff || TENDING the TABLE

    I know exactly how you feel. That cooking rut can be so discouraging, but we just have to be patient and wait for it to pass. I find that new cookbooks or ingredients are a great way to break the cycle. And hooray for simple summer meals! I love highlighting the bountiful fruits and vegetables of summer with new salads and sides. And thanks for the stunning photo inspiration as always!

  3. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I’m right there with you. My relationship with food is always going through ups and downs. Sometimes picking up some fresh produce is just the inspiration I need to get back into it. Or I’ll take an ingredient I don’t work with very often and try to do something with it. Just to get the creative juices going. These peas are full of such wonderful flavors and textures. It’s just the kind of dish that reminds us that vegetarian fare can be bold, in taste, texture, and color.

  4. Rachel Tilly

    Ashley, this looks wonderful. I have snow peas, but I don’t have any pea shoots. Do you have a suggestion for a substitution? I have kale and broccolini…

  5. Aubrey

    I just love this idea of blistered peas! I can’t wait for fresh peas to show up at the farmers market!

  6. Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    Your photography is always so stunning and inspiring – and so is this dish! Just gorgeous. I’ve been in a inspiration rut as well and turn to cookbooks too to learn about new techniques and ingredients – so encouraging every time!

  7. mimi

    Congratulations! I love Frontier! That’s where I get my giant bags of chicken-flavored broth powder – an ingredient I would never be without! Your your beautiful peas!

  8. Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

    Gorgeous recipe – this is just the thing to get me out of my cooking rut too. I love the way you put it – your relationship with food takes intention, work and commitment. This is so true yet so easy to forget sometimes. Thanks for inspiring me!

  9. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits

    My relationship with food has peaks and valleys, too. Sometimes, I just want to cook all day. Then there are those days when I can muster enough energy to cook and end up eating a bowl of cereal. I absolutely love the simplicity of this dish!

  10. Kim Daniels

    I can so relate to the food rut. But, I am happy to say that thanks to your new book, Date Night In, I am feeling really inspired to try new things and most importantly, plan meals ahead! The last couple months have been rough: busy with end-of school activities, graduation for my oldest son and the stress of family issues left me spent. Dinner was often an afterthought, just things thrown together. Or we resorted to lots of take out pizza. But I ordered your book after reading about it on another blog. I knew I needed a push and I needed to start making more time for my hubby, too. I haven’t bought a real cookbook in ages, but I am so glad I bought yours. It’s so inspiring. I am back in love with making good food again!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Wow, Kim. This makes me so happy to read. I turn to other people’s books for inspiration all the time so to have my book inspire someone else is just so amazing to me. Thank you so much for sharing.