March 16, 2017

Blog the Fortieth: "The Glories of the Pea"

In Transcendental Array

It’s spring intermittently down here just south of the Mason Dixon line, which means tis the season for N.P.R.’s donor marathon. I never donate to N.P.R., even though for decades it has been my primary and often sole news source as I cook supper. I’m attached to it on uncle Niccolo’s advice to keep your enemies closer than your friends, as well as for the antidote it provides to my own bias in the daily exercise of having to decipher the news under its. In any case, I will to my dying day be grateful to N.P.R. for this quotation from the diary of a Lady-in-waiting to Catherine de Medici during her reign over the cuisine of the court of Henri II: “Nothing else has been spoken of at Court this week but the glories of the pea newly arrived from Italy.”

Ah! Can you imagine a world in which peas are glorious?

So, I am abashed to offer you this post on what my people do with peas, because I feel as though my people’s recipes are not glorious enough for that quotation. The recipes are really, really good, but only in the usual way that our food is really, really good, and glorious should be even better than that, I figure. Anyways, I have one pasta recipe for you, a soup, a vegetable side, a chicken-braise, and a most unexpected calamari braise, in case there be an apologetical glory of sorts to be got from crossing kinds in transcendental array.

Pasta ‘n Peas

Pasta ‘n peas is what I call a "pasta soup", because it is eaten with a spoon, but the next recipe down helps make clear why this isn’t really a soup dish but a pasta dish—because the pasta’s the thing. Now, really, is that so hard to understand? The “soup” recipe below it, in contrast, features the peas in a broth of its own making, and so is as close as you’ll get in my people’s food to what “soup” means in English—although it’s far more delicious than what typically goes by the name of “pea soup”.

However—just to throw the materialists a curve ball—if you add some spoon-sized ditalini to the broth of the soup, it would still be soup with pasta in it rather than a pasta dish, because the pasta is filling out the pea broth rather than the peas flavoring the pasta. That might be a little harder to understand, but not too, eh? All this just goes to show you, once again, that you won’t get anywhere with essences if you look to matter. After all, science tells you you’re 97% water and 3% minerals. What does that tell you about what you are? Not nearly as much as, You are dust, and to dust you shall return. Calling you dirt has moral content to it, which is formal, hence informative of essentials, namely your mortality. Get it?

But back to pasta ‘n peas. This pasta ‘n peas recipe is shamelessly easy because we typically use frozen peas. If you feel ashamed about that, you can always get fresh peas in the pod to shuck (it was in fact with little fresh peas from Tuscany that Catherine took France by storm), but I’m told (by Gentiles) that those are so delicious, You really don’t want to do anything except briefly steam them, if that. [Yeah, yeah—by which I mean, No, no. No wonder those Gentile kids won't eat their peas.]

Pasta 'n peas is made just like pasta ‘n cauliflower, although whereas the latter vouches rustic charm, pasta e piselli comes off with more elegance, especially if you say it in Italian. It is lighter and prettier, and even tastier than it seems peas should be. The peas seem green pearls strewn in wet hay glowing with the savor of spring. It is essential to this pea-pearl effect that you use only enough tomato to color the broth rose-gold, speckled with red accents. If you use too much tomato, the spell is broken, and you end up with marinara decorated with peas. Such demotion to decoration renders the peas inglorious.

Begin, as usual, finely slicing up a very big onion, by halving it horizontally, nipping off root below and pompidou above, peeling away outer skin, slicing each half several times lengthwise, then finely crosswise, to produce a mound of onion hair. Scrape this onion mound into a pond of olive oil filling the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot, plop a wad of butter in, shower with salt, cover the pot, and turn on the heat to medium. Bring the onion to a shiny sweat, flipping once or twice, and then uncover the pot and sauté it at a cheerful sizzle to a golden blush (sneaking in a garlic clove, if you like, very finely slivered).

Meanwhile, seed several pelati by slicing each tomato in half and squeezing out the seeds on rivulets of juice. Slice up the tomato and add it to the blushing onions with its share of salt. Take 5 minutes to cook the tomato down to a little chunky sauce, flipping and folding frequently. When the little sauce glistens oily, fold in a package of peas, with its share of salt. Flip and fold the peas frequently as they heat up to a shine. They will probably ask for grindings of fresh pepper. When the peas are pretty, add equal amounts of boiling water and chicken broth, double the bulk of the peas. Bring the liquid to a steady simmer, and simmer the peas for 10 minutes. Then taste the peas for doneness as well as for enough salt and pepper.

As with all minestra, this gets even better if it sits, so you can make it as early as you like. When it’s time for supper, boil only enough pasta to equal, cooked, the minestra in bulk—which means half as much dry. I usually count 5-6 Gentiles a box for pasta with sauce, and so only 1/2-to-2/3 a box for a pasta soup. You need spoon sized pasta. For pasta ‘n peas, orecchiete are my favorite, hands-down; ditalini is a good second; and spaghetti broken down to inch-lengths is a good fallback.

Boil the pasta short of al dente, to finish cooking with the peas, which you need to gently reheat while the pasta is boiling. Use a sieve or slotted spoon to transfer the pasta dripping into the simmering peas, along with any additional pasta water that may be needed. Only add as much pasta as gives you a good proportion; don’t overwhelm the peas; go slow; it’s easy to add more if needed, but not to take away too much; don’t let frugality get the better of you; be prepared to throw away extra pasta.

If you become an aficionado, you’ll refuse to put grated cheese on pasta ‘n peas, so I wouldn’t mix any in before serving. However, commoners will like it with grated cheese, so have that at table next to the black pepper grinder. Pasta ‘n peas is somehow light yet tasty, and elegant yet easy, so it’s a good first dish at a dinner party to warm the crowd up for a variety of second dishes.

A Pea Soup

What do you think of when you hear “pea soup"? Nothing delicious, I bet, even if you happen to know someone who loves it by way of fetish. When I hear “pea soup” I think of peas pulverized into a pabulum blended into cream, with any luck. You spoon it up wondering where the food is.

In general, I don’t like the sound of “soup”, and “soupy” doesn’t sound like a good thing to be either. Gentile soup, with the notable exception of chicken soup (or is that Jewish?), seems to come in two extremes: either a bowl of cream for toothless gums, or a bowl of chunky sludge, the worst kind being tomato sludge. Either way, it is dismaying to see rich and thick be made to be a bad thing.

In contrast, the liquid food of my people aims to suffuse water with the essential extract of some thing of nature. True, light chicken broth is often used for pith, but only as enhanced water, and almost always mixed in equal parts with pure water; also, it is never required, only permitted.

What we make seems too pure to call “soup”. I can’t make myself use that word of it. So I usually call it “a braise”, with the consciously vain conceit of Gallicism—“an asparagus braise”, for instance, as opposed to "braised asparagus". The Gallicism is meant to accentuate the braising liquid in which the food will be bathing in the bowl. However, I find that even I can’t manage to extend this Gallic conceit to peas in broth. They’re just too small. There will be a multitude of them swimming in a spoonful of broth, and that looks too much like soup not to be called it. “Pea braise” confounds the imagination. Sounds like a gourmet conceit. God forbid that.

So I’m resigned to calling it “pea soup”, but my resignation will take some solace from another grammatical conceit, namely an indefinite article. Let it be called “a pea soup”. Doesn’t that somehow sound better already? The “a” sets it apart, as if to say, “like and yet unlike what you already know”.

Unless, that is, what you already know is my recipe for an asparagus braise, because the recipe for “a pea soup” is exactly the same. You use lots of scallions (at least a couple bundles) which I slice up my mother’s way: I cut them into 2-inch lengths, which I soak a bit to clean. Then I slice each 2-inch length lengthwise twice, rotating it a quarter, then crosswise in half, so as to end up with inch-long oblongs. They cook up much better this way than as tiny rounds—don’t get lost.

Pour out a pond of olive oil to fill the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot and plop in a wad of butter. Scrape the mound of scallions in, and shower with salt and fresh grindings of black pepper. Cover the pot, turn on the heat to medium, and heat the scallions to a sweaty shine, with a flip or two in between. Then uncover the pot and sauté the sizzling scallions until they soften sweet, which is short of blushing golden, as scallions are, unlike other onions, too delicate for much cooking.

Now fold in a package of peas (or the equivalent shucked), with their share of salt. Let the peas heat to a sweaty shine, with flipping in between, and then add boiling water and chicken broth in equal measure, to cover the peas by an inch or so. Simmer the peas easefully for 10 minutes, or double that. My mother says there’s no right amount of time to cook peas because they never overcook, but that’s patently false, taken literally; taken figuratively, it means the range of electable doneness is wide, so decide how cooked you like them, so long as you allow time enough for them to flavor their broth—I fear a gourmet’s 5 minutes would be not enough.

Meanwhile, beat a couple of eggs with a couple tablespoons of grated cheese, a couple pinches of salt, fresh ground black pepper, and freshly chopped parsley. First taste the simmering peas for enough salt, and then pour the egg throughout in a serpentine trail. Let the egg firm up in the simmering broth before using a fork to gently prod the serpent’s trail into clusters. By the end, I want little scrambled egg clusters distributed among my peas, rather than egg striations in my broth. It should look pretty and taste tasty.

Now, as I mentioned above, I could boil up some ditalini or pastina or even rice to add—not to exceed in bulk the peas, however, taking care not to overwhelm either the the peas or their broth—but it would still be a pea soup and not a pasta soup, since the pasta will not be essential matter flavored by the peas, but only a companion on whose arm the peas walk out. It’s the difference between a marriage and a date. This “a pea soup” is a nice alternative 'in the white' to the tomatoey pasta ‘n peas above, lighter in heft, more vernal in character, and yet more distilled in flavor. It’s for people who like peas, not people who don’t, though it need not be a pea fetish.

Peas, Mushrooms, & Artichoke Hearts Oniony

A combination neither pretty nor predictable, yet uncommonly tasty. I once had a friend say my food was delicious but not colorful. I thought less of her for it then—for what color should food be but its own?— but I think this dish might be what she meant. But then I thought, You must look to the whole, dear!

On a dinner plate next to other foods of the right color, this dish will have the warm comforting richness that dirt has when it is background to ripe fruits on late summer vines. Indeed, the three vegetables of this medley are all somehow earthy in flavor, but sweetly so, like inoffensive decadence. Think vegetable musk.

Also, recommending this recipe is its unrespectable ease, as frozen peas and artichoke hearts are an irresistibly easy option. If you go for the pre-sliced mushrooms as well, this is practically fast food. Back in the day, all the cleaning and trimming these vegetables require would have made this a laborious dish, no doubt the glory of a prolific season of the year worthy only a special dinner. But now with Birdseye you can be decadent any time of year—as long, that is, as you have time for the onions. As we know, they take some patience to slice up and sauté to golden.

I like to defrost frozen vegetables before they go into the pot. The best way is slowly in the fridge. When short on time, a short soak in salty water can take the iciness off them at least. Worst case scenario, you can add them to the pan frozen. I introduce the two frozen vegetables together, the artichoke hearts and peas, only after I've gotten the mushrooms started, to take the rawness off them and cook away some of their native moisture and get them sizzling in the oil. Otherwise, they just steam in all the moisture the frozen vegetables give off. [I suppose that if you were to use fresh vegetables, they could go in all together from the start, but I have no intention of doing that.]

For this vegetable medley, I prefer red onions, or lots of scallion, but any of the usual onions will do as well. As usual, heat up to glistening a lot of finely sliced onion in a pool of olive oil with a wad of butter and shower of salt, covered, flipping in between; then sauté uncovered to a golden blush.

Now fold in the sliced mushrooms, with their shower of salt and black pepper, and sauté them covered to a sweaty shine; then uncovered, from steamy to sizzling. Now fold in the defrosted artichoke hearts and peas, with their share of salt and black pepper. Patiently sauté their steam away, with frequent but gentle flipping and folding, to a sizzle. Your flipping technique is important here. Don't be poking your food. Slide your spatula under the food, scraping the bottom of the pan, and flip the food gently over, working your way around the circumference and then down the middle. In particular, handle those artichoke quarters with care, lest they break down into mulch and disappear.

When all the vegetables are fork-tender, thoroughly fold in a fresh wad of butter and lots of fresh chopped parsley. Flip and fold until the butter melts away and the parsely wilts in. Then turn off the heat. That’s it. Pick a pretty bowl for it.

Make something bright to wing it, like carrots lemony, roasted red peppers, or beets on their greens.

Peas, Mushrooms, & Squid

Something about peas and mushrooms just seems to work, even with squid, unexpectedly. My father brought this recipe back from a trip to Sicily, where it is done with cuddle fish, in case you can get it and want to do this recipe right. Meanwhile, you can do it with big, thick squid.

This recipe is a good case of what I called phenotypic variation in my family’s recipes. My father dubbed his variation calamari alla Siciliana, but the recipe turns out to have variations stretching from Rome to Palermo. I never much liked this dish before, but my parents loved it, so I thought I owed it to you as a faithful witness to present it in a post on peas even without sympathy. But when I test-made it tonight, I liked it a lot. So, although the Kantian would have counted my virtue purer when it suffered no pleasure, the Aristotelian will no doubt rejoice with me that it is now perfected by it.

I need to ‘fess up, however, to myself varying the recipe to my liking. My father’s recipe reads thus:

Sauté a lot of scallions; add squid, cut up, and sauté a few minutes to color pink; add mushrooms with a glass of white wine and green olives. Add peas last 5 minutes.
That’s how my family gives recipes. I got the idea alright, but I didn’t like it. I figured that the squid will shed water and therefore not color in sizzling oil, but rather simmer in oily water; I figured the mushrooms will likely boil bland in wine and squid juice without prior sautéeing; and I figured the olives would pall the dish with their assertive flavor. Nevertheless, I resolved to try it his way first time out, before trying variations, but then I didn’t.

Rather, nagged by doubts, I checked the Web and found provincial variations that add tomatoes, tomato paste, or cherry tomatoes, and/or use garlic instead of onion, or both garlic and onion. I also found one recipe in bianco, without tomato, like my father’s, but also without the olives. So I decided to toss in only two olives at the end, in filial piety, but really just to prove to myself I wouldn’t like them, which I didn’t.

Also, I turned a trick or two of my own to draw water out of the squid and mushrooms before sautéeing them in the sizzling scallions for some color. Since I used white mushrooms (pre-sliced, if you’ll pardon it), I followed my mother's people’s custom of parboiling them for exactly one minute in salted lemon water, to keep them white. Strangely enough, boiled and drained, they shrink and shed less water in cooking than raw.

As for the squid, I prepped it the way I do when I braise squid with tomato. I cut the bodies up into inch-fat rings, and soak rings and tentacles in a bowl of water salty as the sea; then I rinse them in several changes of fresh water, until they stop foaming, and then leave them drain in a colander. When time to cook, I bedrizzled the bottom of a wide, heavy-bottomed chef’s pan with light oil, add the squid pieces with a light shower of salt, cover the pot, and turn the heat up to medium high. As the squid heats up, it sheds pink water. As soon as that pink squid water starts to simmer, I drain the squid into a sieve in a bowl, saving the pink squid water for use later in braising.

My mushrooms and squid thus prepped, I poured out a pond of olive oil to fill the bottom of the pot, and then scraped in my large mound of sliced scallions. I would have happily substituted red onion, perhaps preferred it (the Web recipes all used regular onion, which I feel sure would not be as good as scallions or red). I sliced up the scallions my mother’s way, into inch-lengths, as described above for a pea soup.

Into the pond of olive oil went the scallions, followed by a shower of salt and fresh grindings of pepper. I covered the pot and steamed them over medium heat to a glistening sweat. Then I uncovered the pot and sautéed the scallions sizzling over gentle heat, with much gentle flipping. Scallions are more delicate than other onions and do not benefit from long sautéeing, however slow. As soon as they soften and smell sweet, they’re ready to give what they’ve got. Don’t go for golden.

So I added in the prepped squid and mushrooms both, and sautéed them to glistening. They seemed happy. They asked for grindings of black pepper, and I obliged. They asked for some chopped parsley, and I obliged. Next they wanted drink, and I provided a glass of light Italian white wine, which I allowed to heat up to a lively simmer before stirring.

Then I put the lid on a bit a'jar, and allowed the wine to simmer cheerfully away. After that, as needed, I kept feeding the sautéeing squid its pink squid water, just enough to keep it moist and slippery, but not wet and sloshy, as befits a braise, which is not a stew. I kept the squid at a steady though not fervid simmer, with the lid a bit a'jar atop a wide chef’s pan in which the squid was spread out.

It took but ten minutes of steady simmering for my squid to grow tender (though I expected twice as long as that), at which point I added the peas, with some more squid water and more freshly chopped parsley. The Birdseye tender baby-peas cooked through in under 5 minutes of simmering. All looked and smelled delicious, and it was. In the plate, its demure colors needed the contrast of a bright red beet, which I happily had on hand in the fridge already baked, to dress with vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and oregano; some boiled potato with the beets would have been welcome as well, but all was well as it was. See for yourself:

I like this dish in bianco all the more for its contrast with our traditional calamari braised with tomato. Even without trial, I doubt peas would stand up well to the dynamic duo of calamari and tomato, as the provincial variations on this recipe would have it. In contrast, peas rule this dish in bianco. If you don’t like peas, you won’t like this dish. If you don’t like calamari, you won’t like this dish. It emanates essence of pea and squid. The marriage is remarkable. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure where the mushroom goes, but its contribution feels indispensable. It’s Cyrano sub rosa.

I own that I did not give the green olives a fair chance, because if they had gone in with the white wine, their bitter flavor might have mellowed in simmering and lent the dish an overtone. My mother suggested I use mild olives, like Sicilian Castelvetrano. However, I really didn’t feel the dish wanted another flavor, and I didn’t like having to fish out my two olives to eat them apart and spit out their pits. It was an interruption. However, I might be tempted next time against my own good counsel to try adding with the wine, instead of olives, halved cherry tomatoes in season. At the right time of year, their fresh acidity and bright color might make for pretty counterpoint in color and flavor. We’ll see.

And we’ll see what my mother has to say when I make this squid for her my way.

Chicken Braised with Peas & Potatoes

Speaking of my mother and phenotypic variation, this chicken recipe is a good case of genetic drift. I always loved the taste of this dish, but wondered about the shriveled peas. My mother bakes it in the oven, you see, but I discovered in cross examination that her grandfather did it in a sort of dutch oven over a hearth-fire. Ah-hah!

Ah-hah, what? you ask. Well, my mother turned into a roasted dish what was meant by Nature, God, and her grandfather to be a braised chicken dish, as I discovered when I returned prodigally in her stead to the way of her father's father. Turns out, her grandfather would gild all the ingredients individually in a frying pan first, and then combine them with wine in a dutch oven hung over the hearth-fire, and finish cooking them together with lid a'jar. That sort of braising ends in moist tenderness. Your peas don’t shrivel. Spreading the ingredients out in a roasting pan and surrounding them with dry heat induces seizure. My mother does cover her baking pan with foil, but I fear her foil covering is a vain attempt to cover a filial pang of conscience.

Here’s how to atone for her.

Melt a wad of butter into a pond of olive oil filling the bottom of a frying pan over medium/medium-high heat. When the butter finishes sizzling, add the chicken parts, with breathing room. [I used only chicken thighs, because it’s what I had; were I forced to include breast meat for the pale of soul, I’d brine them in water salty as the sea all day, hoping against hope to inure them against drying out, and would also delay their entry into the braising pan.] Do not touch the sizzling chicken parts until their edges indicate browning. When a peek under espies a gilded face, turn and gild the other side. Collect the gilded meat in a high-sided chef’s pan. Now drain the oil through a sieve into a bowl, and wipe out the frying pan. Then return the clean oil to the frying pan over medium heat.

Add big long wedges of potato, cut steak-fry style. Over medium heat, gild the potato wedges on all sides, like the chicken, and mound them in the chef’s pan with the chicken. Once the potatoes are all done, turn on the heat under the chef’s pan low, to gently heat it up.

Meanwhile, into the frying pan off heat mix in much chopped garlic. Return the frying pan to gentle heat and sauté the garlic with frequent flipping, just until it blushes sweet. As soon as it does, add in the peas and flip them in the garlic and oil. Shower with salt and fresh grindings of black pepper. Sauté the peas to glistening. Then add chicken broth to pool in and around the peas, and cook it down from soupy to saucy. Then turn up the heat to high, and add white wine to pool in and around all the peas. Heat the wine up to a lively simmer, and then pour out kit and caboodle over the chicken and potatoes in the chef’s pan.

Bring the chef’s pan to a cheerful but not fervid simmer, and finish cooking with lid ajar. Keep checking and flipping, adding chicken broth as needed to keep it all moist and slippery, but not wet and sloshy. By the end, you want the liquid reduced to a viscous pan sauce, to puddle at bottom of the dinner plate for the chicken, peas and potatoes sit in.

I know I’m right about braising, even apart from patriarchal witness, because I first did it my mother’s way in the oven with discontent, and then reheated leftovers with remedial wine and broth, simmering with cover ajar, for a most satisfying recovery.
Pasta 'n Peas

* Saute much onion, thinly sliced, in a pool of olive oil with a wad of butter, over medium heat, until golden.
* Add several pelati (whole peeled tomatoes imported from Italy), roughly chopped, perhaps seeded, with a sprinkling of salt. Cook the pelati down for five minutes or so into a chunky little oniony sauce.
* Add in a package of peas and fold them into the sauce, to coat. Shower with salt, cover, and steam for five minutes or so, with a flip or two in between, to glistening.
* Now add boiling water and chicken broth in equal measure, double the bulk of the peas, to cover by an inch or two. Bring the liquid to a simmer, put the cover on the pot ajar, and simmer lively until the peas are tender.
* Boil half a box of spoon-sized pasta (such as orecchiete, small shells, ditalini, or spaghetti snapped into inch-lengths) to still well short of al dente.  Use a small sieve or slotted spoon to transfer the dripping wet pasta from its pot into the simmering peas, to finish cooking together in the pea soup. Add pasta cooking water, if needed.
* Serve in pasta bowls with soup spoons. Have pepper, black and red, at table, as well as grated cheese.

A Pea Soup

* Trim two bundles of scallion, quarter them lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into inch-long pieces. Pour out a pool of olive oil into a pot, add a wad of butter, the chopped scallions, a shower of salt and grindings of pepper, then cover the pot and turn on the heat to medium.  Flipping now and again, let the scallions come to a steamy sizzle covered, then remove the cover to let them dry off and sizzle to translucent and redolent.
* Add peas with a shower of salt.  Sauté them until they glisten with the oil. Then add half water and half chicken broth, just to cover. Turn the heat down to simmer gently until peas are tender, ten minutes, more or less.
* Beat an egg or two with grated Pecorino Romano, salt, and pepper, and drizzle it throughout the asparagus broth in the form of a winding river. Let the river solidify a bit before running a fork back and forth to form egg clusters throughout the soup.  Let the egg finish cooking through.  Serve peas 'n eggs in a pool of its broth with crusty bread. (Or else, boil ditalini or pastina to add to soup, in bulk not to exceed peas.)

Pea, Mushroom, & Artichoke Sauté

* In a broad chef's pan over medium heat, sauté an abundant amount of finely sliced onion, salted, in a pond of olive oil, covered, until sweaty and glistening with the oil. Uncover, and add one small clove of finely sliced garlic. Continue sautéing uncovered, flipping regularly, until the onion blushes golden.
* Fold in mushrooms with their share of salt and pepper, and saute them with regular flipping to glistening. Fold in artichoke heart quarters and peas with their share of salt and pepper. Saute with gentle flipping and folding until the vegetables glaze over and grow tender.
* Add a wad or two of fresh butter and much freshly chopped parsley, and gently flip and fold until the butter melts and the parsely wilts in. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Squid Braised with Peas

* Cut squid bodies into inch rings, and soak rings and tentacles in water salty as the sea until ready to cook. Rinse in several changes of water, until the squid stops foaming. Then drain well.
* Add squid pieces to a heavy bottomed pot with sprinkling of salt all over, and put over medium heat with lid on. As the squid heats, it will shed its pink water; as soon as that water starts to simmer, dump out the squid into a sieve set in a bowl, to save the squid water for later use.
* Trim at least two bundles of scallion, quarter them lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into inch-long pieces. Pour out a pool of olive oil into a broad chef's pan, add the mound of chopped scallions, a shower of salt and grindings of pepper, then cover the pot and turn on the heat to medium. Flipping frequently, let the scallions come to a steamy sizzle covered. Uncover, and add one small clove of very finely slivered garlic. Continue sautéing uncovered, flipping periodically, until the onion turns translucent and redolent.
* Fold in mushrooms with their share of salt and pepper, and sauté them with regular flipping to glistening. Then add in the squid pieces into the pot, and sauté them with regular flipping to glistening. (Alternatively, you could parboil the mushrooms slices for one minute in salted lemon water, drain well, and add them to the chef's pan together with the squid, sautéeing both together to glistening.)
* Turn the heat up to high and add a glass of white wine to come half way up the squid. Allow the wine to come to a lively simmer before flipping and folding the squid in it. Then lower the heat to medium, and with cover ajar, simmer away the wine at a lively but not roiling simmer.
* When the wine reduces, start to add pink squid water to pan, enough to keep the simmering squid moist and slippery, but not soupy. When the squid has softened but is still too toothsome, fold in the peas for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking, with their share of salt & pepper and some squid water.
* In the final minute, fold in fresh chopped parsley. Taste and correct for enough salt and pepper.

Chicken Braised with Peas 'n Potatoes

* Salt and pepper chicken parts on both sides. Melt wad of butter in pool of regular olive oil to fill bottom of skillet. Gild parts over medium-high heat on both sides and pile in broad chef's pan. Strain oil, wipe out pan, and return clean oil to skillet.
* Cut up potatoes into steak-fry wedges and gild in oil over medium heat. Pile with parts in chef's pan
* Off heat, flip and fold much chopped garlic in hot oil. Return skillet to medium heat and sauté garlic to a rosy blush. Now flip and fold peas in garlic 'n oil, sautéeing to shiny. Meanwhile, turn heat on low to warm up chef's pan.
* Add chicken broth to puddle beneath peas, and simmer down to saucy. Then turn up heat to high and add white wine to pool half-way up peas; let come to a lively simmer before flipping and folding peas in wine. Then pour out kit 'n caboodle over chicken and potatoes in chef's pan, turning heat up to medium-high.
* Bring chef's pan to a cheerfully steady simmer, and with lid ajar, finish cooking chicken and potatoes, turning them over now and again, and adding chicken broth as needed to keep all slippery and moist until cooked, but reducing all to glossy by the end.