Each summer, since as long as I can remember, I wait impatiently for the peas to ripen. When I was a child, Mom planted the rows of peas in the garden in full view of her kitchen window so she could keep an eye on them and us. That did not stop us from trying to sneak a few pods to eat hastily behind the shed!
We spent many lazy summer afternoons sitting under the weeping willow tree podding bushels and bushels of peas. Mom paid us per pint of podded peas for our labours … pennies is what it amounted to. But back then, penny candy was plentiful at the Yatton General Store and we would deliberate and pick and choose for quite some time before we left with a little brown paper bag of stale penny candy.
The best way to eat peas is directly from the pod in the pea patch. But blanching and freezing them is second best and each time you eat some in winter you get another taste of summer. In the fall, Mom’s freezer was full of neatly packaged vegetables from the garden that would last the winter until the next garden season came.
I made this pasta salad with the first fresh peas and herbs from my garden on the weekend. For the best flavour, let the salad marinate overnight in the fridge.
Pasta Salad with Peas and Ham
2 cups rotini pasta
1-1/2 cups raw shelled peas
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
2 cups ham, cubed
1 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soya sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
Freshly grated black pepper
Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions in lightly salted water.
Drain pasta and cool under cold running water. Let it sit in a strainer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and then pour it over the vegetables and cooked pasta. Stir gently to coat.