National Surf & Turf Day falls on February 29th. Why would anyone choose to celebrate this tasty holiday only once every four years?
That honor should go to, say, National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day, which happens to be today’s holiday (April 21st). Or how Kitchen Klutzes of America Day (June 13th), or Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day (July 29th)?
So today, we’re featuring some novel approaches to surf and turf.
On THE NIBBLE alone, we have obvious and not-so-obvious recipes:
Our latest dish in the collection:
RECIPE: SQUID & SPRING PEAS
Who’d have thought of combining squid and bacon with fresh spring peas and fresh mint? Catalan chefs, with bounties of fresh squid pulled from the Mediterranean.
It’s a traditional Catalan starter from the chef’s mother, and is one of the restaurant’s best sellers.
“[Mother] taught me that the best dishes are made from simple flavors, and when we respect the products, they give us back the very best of them,” notes Chavez.
While Chef Jaime didn’t intend to create “surf and turf,” we’re always seeking new ways to extend the original concept of filet mignon and lobster tail, christened Surf & Turf (here’s the history of Surf & Turf).
This is an easy recipe; the most demanding parts are slicing the squid and cooking the bacon.
The season for fresh spring peas is short, so don’t bookmark this for “later.”
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. SAUTÉ the squid and garlic in olive oil in a hot pan. Cut the squid into rings.
 Squid, bacon and spring peas unite in a vinaigrette (photo courtesy Chef Jaime Chavez).  Just-shelled spring peas (photo courtesy The Chef’s Kitchen).  Raw squid (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma).  Fennel (photo courtesy Burpee).
2. ADD the peas and season with salt and pepper. Then add the vinegar and mint.
3. REMOVE from the heat and add the celery, fennel and bacon. Garnish as desired and serve (the edible flowers add another touch of springtime).
SPRING PEAS, ENGLISH PEAS OR GARDEN PEAS?
Spring peas, English peas and garden peas are three are names for the same thing. All can be eaten raw or cooked.
Three types of green peas:
Having said that, pea pods are botanically a fruit, since they are pods that contain seeds, and the pods developed from the ovary of a flower.
Peas, beans and lentils are all legumes with seeds that grow in pods. It’s easy to distinguish them by their shape:
HOW TO BUY & STORE FRESH PEAS
For the best flavor, choose small peas. They’re younger, sweeter and more tender than large ones. Look for medium-size pods that are firm and green, with no yellowing. Break open a pod and check the peas. They should be small, bright green and firm. Taste the peas in the pod: They should be tender and sweet.
Freshness counts. As with corn, once picked the peas’ high sugar content begins to convert to starch. Don’t pay for mature peas. You might as well use frozen peas.
Don’t pay extra for shelled peas. You don’t know how fresh they are; and since you aren’t shelling peas day in, day out, it’s a fun activity.
Storing Fresh Peas