OUR CHEF’S FRESH TAKE ON A CAFE CLASSIC IS BOUND TO BE A SPRING SMASH
The first song I learned to play on the guitar was April Come She Will. I love Paul Simon’s gentle tale of the seasons. Similarly this dish is an expression of the season. The chef sensibility that I have employed is to use snap, snow and sweet garden peas set on a pesto of peas. This layering of flavour and texture elevates simple peas on toast to something pretty special. The backing singers – the toasted walnuts, the preserved lemon and fresh herbs – like Art Garfunkel, provide transcendent harmony.
SPRING PEA TARTINE, RICOTTA, PRESERVED LEMON, WALNUT
Serves: 4 INGREDIENTS
125g frozen peas, defrosted 50g baby spinach leaves ¼ bunch basil + additional leaves for garnish 1 small clove garlic 25g pine nuts, toasted 100g ricotta ½ lemon, juiced + additional for drizzling 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil + additional for drizzling Sea salt and freshly milled pepper 75g sweet garden peas in their pods, split 75g sugar snap peas, topped and tailed 75g snow peas, topped and tailed 4 thick slices sourdough 50g walnuts, toasted and skinned ¼ preserved lemon, flesh and pith removed, very finely sliced
Pulse the defrosted peas, spinach, basil, garlic, pine nuts and 20g of the ricotta to a chunky paste. Stir in lemon juice and half the olive oil, season to taste then chill until required. Next blanch each type of pea separately in a large pot of boiling well-salted water for two mins or until just tender. Drain well then refresh in iced water and drain again. Refrigerate until required. Drizzle bread on both sides with remaining olive oil, season, then barbecue on a preheated grill. Spread each slice thickly with ricotta, put peas and pesto on top, scatter with walnuts, preserved lemon and basil. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.