A few notes about peas
Pisum sativum is groch in Polish and pea in English.
The pea belongs to the legume family, the plant family with pods as fruit and from the botanical point of view the pea pod is a fruit, the round peas, the seeds, however from the culinary point of view it is classed as a vegetable.
Peas are recorded in the Middle East over 4,000 years BC.
Dried peas were the stables of Mediaeval cooking in Europe.
The eating of the fresh green peas is a fairly modern idea – it started for the rich in the 17th & 18th centuries.
Mangetout (eat all in French) is a pea variety with an edible pod The idea of eating the immature pea pods was known in the 17th century in France. They only became popular in the UK in 1970s.
Marrow fat peas are a variety of Pisum sativum called medullare. They are sold with their skins still on and are often cooked with bi-carbonate of soda which helps break down this hard to digest skin.
Split peas come as yellow & green – these are dried peas with the hard to digest skin removed and then the pea splits naturally into its 2 cotyledons(parts). This process came into use in the late 19th century.
My original recipe for pea fritters was exactly the same the same as my bean fritters recipe but using dried split peas – so I have added the instructions for doing this.
This variation is now the one I use the most.
Reconstituting the Spit Peas
Most packets of split peas give a variety of method for reconstituting the split peas.
- I do not usually bother to soak them over night.
- I cover them with water and let them boil gently, this will take at least half an hour.
- I keep checking on them giving them an occasional stir so they do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Adding water if needed if it looks like it is going to run dry.
- I cook them until they are soft and all the water has been absorbed.
- If you have added too much water then you will need to strain the excess off.
- Using a masher, mash the peas until you have a thick smooth thick purée.
Split Pea Fritters
- 250g of yellow or green split peas (reconstituted as above & mashed to a smooth purée)
- 1 carrot – chopped into small pieces
- 1 onion – chopped into small pieces
- 1 clove of garlic – chopped
- 1 red pepper – chopped into small pieces
- Some butter for frying the onions, garlic, carrot & pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 1 egg – beaten
- Dried Breadcrumbs
- Salt & pepper
- optional – 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
- Reconstitute the split peas, mash them and leave them to cool completely.
- Melt some butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots and the pepper until they are soft, then leave them to cool.
Mix the mashed pea mixture and the cooked vegetables together,
- Add the Italian mixed herbs, paprika and salt & pepper(& chilli flakes if using) and mix well.
- Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly – if the mixture appears to wet add a spoonful of breadcrumbs.
- Put some breadcrumbs on a plate or board, make small balls and flatten them and coat all the sides with the breadcrumbs.
- Shallow fry the fritters in hot sunflower oil till they are golden on both sides.
- These fritters go well with a crisp salad, salsa or a sauce such as tomato or mushroom.
- They also go well with meat dishes in a sauce such as gulasz, pulpety or chicken casserole.