Packed with folic acid and adored by all, the humble pea is the perfect summer ingredient. We celebrate the arrival of June with our favourite pea recipes.
Pea, Mint and Avocado Salad
I make this so often that I’ve forgotten the actual recipe, I haven’t looked at it for years and haven’t the foggiest about exact quantities.
I’ve made it for hordes of people over the years, young and old. Its appeal seems to transcend all the usual boundaries and it’s perfect for a big cross-generational gathering that might harbour a few picky eaters – even works for babies! In summer it replaces roast root veg as my default sidekick to roast chicken and roast baby potatoes.
9 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
fat pinch caster sugar
a bunch of mint
1½ kg peas in the pod (or approx 500g frozen)
Salad leaves (better to use something with heft, baby gem are perfect)
3 ripe avocados
Put the oil, vinegar, caster sugar and mint into a food processor, or alternatively use a jug and hand blender to do the same job. Blend until the all the ingredients are amalgamated. Cook the peas until they’re almost cooked – just a moment away from tender. Drain them, pour into a bowl and then pour over all the dressing. Allow the peas to steep in the dressing from anything from one hour to one day.
When ready to serve tear half the little gem leaves into pieces and mix through the peas. Use the other half to line a serving bowl, pour in the peas and any remaining dressing. Scatter a few mint leaves over and serve.
N.B. Don’t worry I made sure to check the exact quantities before publishing the recipe.
Roast Garlic and Pea Puree
It might strike you as rather elaborate to whack on the oven for a single bulb of garlic and that’s a fair point. So perhaps it’s better to consider this recipe as a partner to another oven bound companion, potentially a juicy cut of pork belly, or some hot crispy fishcakes. It works brilliantly with fish – if you’re a fan of fish and chips with mushy peas then you’ll understand my point exactly. Its deep savory flavours are also a prefect match for the sweet -fleshed pork.
Ever obliging this puree also doubles as a sort of tapenade if lathered on crostini so you could always serve it as a canapé or a light starter. Also works as a luscious starter with a few seared scallops perched on top.
a bulb of garlic (the bigger the cloves the easier to scoop out)
1 tsp olive oil
200g frozen peas or petit pois
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven 200°C. Lop the top off the bulb of garlic: you want to see the tops of the garlic cloves just revealed in cross section. Wrap the bulb in a baggy parcel of foil, pour in a teaspoon of olive oil, fasten so it’s still baggy but there are no holes. Roast in the oven until the garlic is soft: about 50mins.
Cook the peas in boiling salted water until soft and tender. Strain them retaining a few tablespoons of the liquid. Tip into a food processor. Plop the garlic cloves out of their skins and add to the peas, then add the butter and Parmesan. Process until you have a smooth delicious puree. Serve as a luxurious condiment to the pork or fish, or spread generously on crostini.
Pea Tips Salad with Radish and Bacon
Pea tips are the new rocket. Well actually they’ve probably been the new rocket for a while now. Incredibly easy to grow, indoors or out. Just chuck a few seeds in a container and you’ll be snipping whiskered tendrils of pea shoots in about 4 weeks time. Alternatively supermarkets are starting to stock them bagged like any other baby leave.
They taste uncannily like peas. Perhaps not so strange given they are one in the same plant but it’s surprising nonetheless – a bit like discovering carrots shaws taste of carrot. Go canny with the salad dressing, they’re a delicate beast, less is more, but otherwise make merry and pretty up your salads with wispy pea shoots.
a bunch of radish, about 350g
200g lardons cut into 1cm x2cm chunks,
2 shallots finely chopped
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
250g pea tips
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Wash the radishes and remove the greens. Slice 2 radishes into rounds as thin as possible. Cut the remaining radishes in half lengthwise. Trim the stringy swirly tendrils at the end of the pea tips and discard. Remove any tough leaves at the base of the stems and discard. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon lardons until rendered and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
Add the radishes to the pan, cut side down, cover and cook for 3 mins or until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper, turn and cook on the second side for 2 minutes. Add the shallots, toss well and cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 tbs water to slow down the cooking. Then immediately add 2 tablespoons vinegar and all the honey. Toss well and remove from the heat. Combine with the pea tips in a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add the remaining vinegar and the olive oil then toss well, and serve.
You can also bulk out with additional salad leaves of your choice.
Pea, Mint and Avocado Salad and Pea Puree hail from How to Eat by Nigella Lawson. Pea Shoots Salad with radish and bacon is inspired by a recipe on The Garum Factory.
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