Pretty peas: Celebrate spring with fresh English variety

  • By Amy Scattergood Los Angeles Times
  • Tuesday, March 25, 2008 5:30pm
  • Life

Ephemeral as the early spring that bestows them upon us, English peas arrive like this season’s epiphany. They’re here for only a few blissful weeks and once the temperature rises, they’re gone.

Serene in their emerald pods, the peas nevertheless come with a sense of urgency. They’re on a clock from the moment they’re picked.

“Heaven,” wrote M.F.K. Fisher, “is fresh green garden peas, picked and shelled by my friends, to the sound of a cowbell.”

In a city without backyard cows, the heavenly quality of peas depends upon how quickly you can get them home and onto your dinner plate.

Peas benefit from a minimalist’s touch. A few minutes of heat is all they need to temper their rawness — a quick saute in butter or a short dip in boiling water.

Crostini with English pea puree and Greek yogurt

1/2cup Greek yogurt

5tablespoons high-quality olive oil, divided

Sea salt

1tablespoon grated lemon peel (about 1-1/2 big lemons)

16slices of French baguette, cut 1/2-inch thick on the bias

2tablespoons kosher salt

2tablespoons sugar

2cups shelled English peas

1small clove of garlic, minced

Thinly sliced fresh mint for garnish

Mix the yogurt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and the lemon peel in a small bowl and set aside.

Brush the bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with a little sea salt. Grill bread over medium-high heat until golden. You can use an indoor grill or toast the bread on the stove in a cast-iron pan or large skillet.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a pot, adding the sugar and kosher salt. Blanch the peas for about 3 minutes, until bright green and softened, and drain them.

While they’re still warm, put the peas in a food processor with the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until smooth.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of the pea mixture on each slice of grilled bread, spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of yogurt on top and sprinkle a little mint for garnish. Serve.

Makes 16 crostini.

English pea and goat cheese tart

Tart dough

1cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1/8teaspoon sea salt

1teaspoon sugar

2tablespoons grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small chunks

Tart filling

6ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

1/3cup creme fraiche

1/4teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2tablespoons high-quality olive oil

2tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

2tablespoons minced fresh mint

2tablespoons sugar

2tablespoons kosher salt

1-3/4 – 2cups shelled English peas

To make the tart shell: In a food processor, blend the flour, salt, sugar and lemon zest until combined, then add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and pulse until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic film, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Once it’s chilled, take out the dough and roll into a 12-inch circle. Gently fold the rolled dough into quarters and place in the pan, with the point in the center, then carefully unfold. Fold the edges over and crimp, trimming excess dough. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork. Put the tart shell in the freezer for 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 425 degrees and make the filling. Place the frozen tart shell in the oven and bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

To make the filling: In a food processor, blend together the goat cheese, creme fraiche, pepper and olive oil. Add the fresh herbs and pulse briefly to combine. Reserve.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil with the sugar and salt. Blanch the peas for about 3 minutes, then shock them in a bowl of ice water. Drain and reserve.

When the tart shell has cooled, spread the cheese filling evenly over the surface, then cover with a single layer of the blanched peas. Cut the tart into eight slices and serve.

Makes eight servings. Per serving: 297 calories; 8 grams protein; 19 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 44 mg cholesterol; 123 mg sodium.

Market salad with English peas, prosciutto and goat cheese

2tablespoons kosher salt

2tablespoons sugar

1cup shelled English peas

4ounces fresh goat cheese

9tablespoons high-quality olive oil, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

2tablespoons sherry vinegar

1teaspoon honey

1tablespoon grated lemon peel (about 1-1/2 big lemons)

Sea salt

1head romaine, red or green butter lettuce, washed, drained and torn into large pieces

8slices prosciutto, thinly sliced and shredded lengthwise

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bring a 3-quart pot of water to a boil, add salt and sugar and blanch peas briefly, about 1 minute. Remove peas from water with a strainer and shock them in an ice bath. Drain and reserve.

Cut the goat cheese into eight 3/8-inch slices and coat each with about 1 teaspoon olive oil and black pepper to taste. Arrange them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking liner and place in oven for about 5 minutes to soften the cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, vinegar, honey, lemon peel and salt and pepper to taste. Add lettuce to the bowl and toss.

Divide salad among four plates. Scatter the prosciutto evenly over each salad, place two slices of warmed goat cheese on top and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup of peas. Serve.

Makes four servings. Each serving: 520 calories; 24 grams protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 44 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 64 mg cholesterol; 1,207 mg sodium.

Talk to us

More in Life

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

A clump of flowering ornamental grass or pennisetum alopecuroides in an autumn garden.
My garden runneth over with fountain grasses, and for good reason

These late-blooming perennials come in many varieties. They work well as accents, groundcovers, edgings or in containers.

This Vacasa rental is disgusting. Can I get my money back?

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night, but can they get all of their money back?

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Most Read