Minding My Peas & Qs at Dublin 4

At Dublin 4 Gastropub in Mission Viejo, I can’t get enough of chef David Shofner’s quasi-mushy peas , among many favorite things there. A ramekin of deliciously buttery, very green smashed peas accompanies his fab fish and chips—a witty, fresh, irresistible take on this traditional side. (Don’t miss dining critic Gretchen Kurz’ review of Dublin 4 in the current Orange Coast, whose cover story is a guide to the best Mexican food in O.C.)

I asked Shofner if he’d let me in on the secret to this side, and he was so happy to share. In season, I buy peas from Valdivia Farms, who sell at lots of O.C. farmers markets including Tustin on Wednesday, Costa Mesa on Thursday, Laguna Hills on Friday, and the big Irvine Saturday market. For this dish, pass on the similar-looking, edible-pod sugar snaps—you want English, or shelling, peas.

I floated the idea of frozen peas to chef Shofner. He politely—but firmly—demurred. “Would I substitute frozen? No.” he says, “But, could you? Yes. To me, the importance and the difference in our peas is the freshness.” If you’ve tasted the Dublin 4 dish, you know you really can’t argue with that.

David Shofner’s Crushed Fresh Peas

(Makes 6 servings)

4 cups fresh English peas, shucked (about 3 pounds in pod)

3 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter

4 tablespoons heavy cream

5 tablespoons creme fraiche

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 ½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt, plus more for blanching

In large pot, bring water to simmer and add about 1 tablespoon salt per quart. Add shucked peas, and simmer approximately 1 ½ to 2 minutes, depending on size. Do not cool. Add hot peas to food processor along with all remaining ingredients and pulse until desired consistency is achieved.

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