“They want a green vegetable,” Suzen said to me.

“God, not green beans. Please, I can’t do it.”

We were discussing our hosts’ requests for what to bring on Thanksgiving. This year we’ve opted to share the holiday with lovely friends. There will be wine, noise, shared cooking, and wine. Good wine.

“I’m researching,” I said.

“Go right ahead,” Suzen gave me my freedom.

Look, I like green beans. But if I see one more roasted green bean with slivered almonds, I am going to pick it up and stab someone in the eye.

Green? What do I really like that is green — aside from tomatillos? Well, mint but you can’t eat mint all by itself. Ah, but mint and peas? No, that would be springtime. Still, peas.

One of my all-time favorite cookbooks is The New Thanksgiving Table from Diane Morgan. I’ve actually scanned several of her recipes into my “database” to have with me anywhere my laptop and I travel. And here, here is where I found Cracked Pepper and Butter Peas with Parmesan.

We are taking this to our friends on Thursday, and you, too, may be very interested in this recipe. Why? That’s easy. This recipe is easy.

Have you ever made a Thanksgiving dinner where, by the time you sat down, you were too exhausted to eat it? Oh, last year? Me, too.

For holidays, you can go so far out on so many recipes at once, that by mealtime you are toasted. Look, some things need attention. The turkey, the stuffing, and god knows that gravy. But you don’t have to kill yourself over each and every dish. You need some simple yet wonderful things. This recipe is one of them. Now, to be sure, this calls for preparation just before you eat, but it is so simple that won’t be a chore.

Oh, this recipe with its Parmesan on top is sort of a halfway journey to Italy. So, you can extend the recipe if you want. No, not pearl onions. Please, think out of the box. How about some really good roasted mushrooms, some diced up marinated artichoke hearts or even some white anchovy? This basic recipe is wonderful and you’re free to do whatever else you want. Just be sure to take care of yourself, too, and take the time to enjoy the meal.

And lastly, yes, this recipe calls for frozen peas. Normally, I squawk about using frozen food but peas are special. Unlike most vegetables, you can freeze them without losing that wonderful distinctive flavor.

Cracked Pepper and Butter Peas with Parmesan

Yield: serves 8 to 10


  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano.


In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock and 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook for 1 to 2 minutes just until the peas turn bright green. Remove from the heat, drain all the liquid, and transfer to a warm serving bowl. Toss the peas with the butter, season with salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper. Scatter the Parmesan over the top and serve immediately.

Source: The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan