Few frozen foods can stand toe-to-toe with their fresh counterparts, but peas can: Freezing them just after picking locks in their sweet flavor and nutrients like vitamins A and C. Quick-thaw peas by placing them in a strainer and rinsing them with warm water.
1 CRIS-PEA FRITTERS In food processor, pulse 2 c. peas, 1/4 c. dried bread crumbs, 1 tsp. grated lemon peel, 1 Tbsp, fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. curry powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper until smooth. By heaping tablespoons, shape into 2-in.-wide patties; coat with 1/4 c. dried bread crumbs. Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in 12-in. skillet on medium. Cook patties 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 10 fritters.
2 SAVORY SPICED BEEF In 12-in. skillet, sprinkle 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef with 1/2 tsp. each ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium-high 5 to 7 minutes or until browned, breaking up with spoon. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. To skillet, add 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped; cook 30 seconds. Add 2 c. peas and 1/4 c. water; heat through. Stir in beef and 1/2 c. fresh mint, chopped. Cook 1 minute. Serve with rice. Serves 4.
3 BACON PEA SOUP In 4-qt. saucepan, cook 3 slices bacon, chopped, on medium until crisp, stirring; with slotted spoon, transfer to plate. Drain all but 1 Tbsp. fat from pan; add 1 shallot, sliced; 1 tsp. chopped peeled fresh ginger; 1/8 tsp, salt; and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add 3 c. peas and 2 c. lower-sodium chicken broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Puree in blender until smooth. Garnish with bacon. Makes 4 c.
4 SALMON WITH PEA PUREE Spray 2-qt. saucepan with cooking spray. Cook 1 c. sliced leeks on medium 2 minutes, stirring. Add 1 1/2 c. peas, 1/2 c. white wine, and 1/4 c, water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium: simmer 5 to 6 minutes or until reduced by half Meanwhile, spray 12-in. nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium 1 minute. Sprinkle 4 (6-oz.) skinless salmon fillets with 1/4 tsp. salt; cook 10 minutes or until just opaque in center, turning once. While fish cooks, puree pea mixture in blender with 1/4 c. half-and-half, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Serve with salmon. Serves 4.
5 RICE PEA -LAF In 4-qt. saucepot, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add 1/2 sm. onion, finely chopped; 1/2 tsp. ground cumin; and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook 2 minutes. Add 1 c. long-grain white rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in 1 1/2 c. water; heat to boiling on high. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat; add 1 c. peas. Let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Serves 4.