If it were an item of clothing, the Better Homes & Garden’s New Cookbook would be a pair of Carhartt trousers: a Cornbread 066respectable though unsophisticated workhorse. Flip the book open to any page and you’re likely to find an American classic from tuna noodle casserole (page 293), to corn relish (page 192), to steak au poivre (page 332). 

Last Friday we cooked up a quick weeknight dinner of sausages from Eco-Friendly Foods and mustard potato salad. When I needed a vegetable side recipe to accompany these treats, I immediately pulled this spiral-bound book off the shelf to contribute to the June Cookbook Challenge. The book is chock full of simple recipes and the dilled peas and walnuts immediately caught my eye.

I’m a recent convert to the pea community. Growing up, I hated peas in all their mushy, greyish indignities. The flavors were flat, the texture was awful and I thought they ruined any dish they touched. That was before I actually tasted fresh spring peas. Like walking through the wardrobe, I entered a whole new world. Springlike, gorgeously green and with an al dente texture that screams fresh, I was in love. 

With a bag of peas from the H St Farmer’s market, we already had everything we needed for this recipe. Once the peas are shelled, this side dish is about as basic as it gets. The final result was simple, healthy, and full of flavor.  The tangy dill interplayed nicely with the walnuts and and peas, creating a fun combination of flavors and textures with every bite. We cooked our peas for about a minute longer than I prefer. They were still delicious but lost a little of that resistance I love so much but we still polished off the dish and had seconds.

Dilled Peas and Walnuts

2 cups of shelled peas (frozen peas not recommended… because they are gross)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tb butter or margarine (we substituted olive oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill or 1/3 ts dried dill
1/4 ts salt
1/4 ts black pepper
3 Tb broken walnuts, toasted

Cook peas and onion, covered, in a small amount of boiling salt water for 10 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain. Return to saucepan. Stir in butter, dill, salt, and pepper. Heat through. Sprinkle with walnuts.