One packet of peas, four meals

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - by the Kitchen Co­op­er­a­tive

Most of us have a bag of frozen peas lurk­ing in our freezer, but it’s rare that we ever let them be the star of the show. It’s a shame, be­cause there is noth­ing bet­ter than the earthy sweet­ness of peas, and they love be­ing com­bined with other flavours, whether it’s zingy lemon zest or fra­grant curry leaves. Smash­ing them means they re­ally ab­sorb their sur­round­ing flavours. They also add a beau­ti­ful colour and tex­ture to your plate.

How to make smashed peas

625g freshly-pod­ded peas or de­frosted frozen peas 75ml olive oil

1 Put the peas in a food pro­ces­sor and blend un­til you have a coarse puree, adding the oil as you go. Trans­fer to a con­tainer, cover and keep in the fridge.

1 The bright brunch Smashed peas and parme­san on toast with poached egg and pea shoots (on the cover)

This is a re­ally sim­ple, clean-tast­ing plate that lets the peas shine.

Serves 4

1 gar­lic clove 150g smashed peas 3 tbsp ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, plus ex­tra to driz­zle 2 tbsp grated parme­san or pecorino A small hand­ful of mint leaves, shred­ded ½ lemon 4 thick slices of rustic bread, such as sour­dough 4 eggs 4 hand­fuls of pea shoots Salt and black pep­per

1 Finely chop half the gar­lic clove, then crush with a pinch of salt. Stir this into the peas, then slowly driz­zle in the olive oil, fold in the cheese and mint, and add a squeeze of lemon (keep­ing the rest of it for the pea shoots). Sea­son to taste.

2 Put a pan of lightly salted wa­ter over a low heat and break the eggs into ramekins. When the wa­ter is gen­tly sim­mer­ing, use a spoon to cre­ate a whirlpool in the pan, then drop 2 of the eggs into the mid­dle. Cook gen­tly for 2-3 min­utes, then scoop out, drain on kitchen pa­per and re­peat.

3 Toast or grill the bread, then very gen­tly rub the slices with the other half of the gar­lic clove.

4 Quickly dress the pea shoots with a lit­tle squeeze of lemon, a dash of oil and a lit­tle sea­son­ing.

5 Spoon the smashed peas over the toast and sit the poached eggs on top. Scat­ter with the pea shoots, driz­zle with a lit­tle ex­tra oil, and serve.

2 The spicy starter Pea, curry leaf, mus­tard seeds and gram flour pancakes

Th­ese tasty lit­tle num­bers take sec­onds to whip up, but never fail to im­press. The com­bi­na­tion of In­dian spices and peas is a win­ner. Top with a fried egg for some­thing more sub­stan­tial.

Makes 12-14

125g smashed peas 1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped A hand­ful of co­rian­der leaves, roughly chopped A small hand­ful of fresh curry leaves ¼ tsp turmeric 1 tsp brown mus­tard seeds 200ml wa­ter 150g gram flour Olive oil, to fry Yo­ghurt, to serve Chut­neys, to serve

1 Heat your oven on a very, low set­ting. Put the peas in a large mix­ing bowl and mix in the chilli, co­rian­der, curry leaves, turmeric and mus­tard seeds. Add a gen­er­ous tea­spoon of salt.

2 In a sep­a­rate bowl, slowly pour the wa­ter into the gram flour in a steady stream, whisk­ing con­stantly un­til smooth. Stir the pea mix into the gram bat­ter, and a few drops of wa­ter to loosen, if nec­es­sary, to the con­sis­tency of dou­ble cream. Let it sit for at least 30 min­utes and up to 2 hours.

3 Put a large fry­ing pan over a medium high heat and add a splash of oil. Swirl it around to coat, then pour any ex­cess into a cup. When the pan is hot, add 1 tbsp of the mix and im­me­di­ately spread it out a lit­tle with the back of a spoon. Af­ter about 30 sec­onds, you will see bub­bles ap­pear­ing in the cen­tre of the pan­cake and the edges will be light brown. Use a spat­ula or pal­ette knife to flip the pancakes over. Cook on the other side for 20 sec­onds or so un­til golden, then keep warm in the oven while you make a few more. Sprin­kle with a lit­tle salt, if needed, and serve with yo­ghurt and chut­neys as a starter.

3 The mor­eish mezze

Pea, feta, mint and pars­ley fa­tayer

Th­ese are great as part of a mezze or as a pre-din­ner snack as they are de­li­cious both warm and cool.

Makes 16 For the dough

225g strong white flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing ½ tsp quick yeast 100ml warm wa­ter ½ tsp salt 2 tbsp olive oil

For the fill­ing

½ gar­lic clove 150g smashed peas 100g feta cheese, crum­bled A squeeze of lemon juice 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted A hand­ful each of pars­ley and mint leaves, finely chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 1 To make the dough, pour the flour into a large mix­ing bowl and make a well in the cen­tre. Sprin­kle the yeast into the well, then pour the warm wa­ter over the yeast and add the salt and olive oil. Mix with your hands un­til it comes to­gether, then trans­fer to a lightly-floured work sur­face and knead the dough un­til smooth and elas­tic.

2 Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and put it some­where warm.

3 Pre­heat the oven to 200C/400F/ gas mark 6. Finely chop the gar­lic clove, then crush with a pinch of salt. Trans­fer to a bowl, then stir in the peas and other fill­ing in­gre­di­ents, mix well, and ad­just the sea­son­ing to taste.

4 Divide the dough into 16 equal-sized pieces and roll them into balls. Line a bak­ing sheet with bak­ing pa­per. On a lightly floured sur­face, flat­ten the balls one at a time into thin discs, about 2mm thick.

5 Divide the fill­ing mix­ture, spoon­ing equal quan­ti­ties into the cen­tre of each. Dampen the edges with a lit­tle wa­ter, then bring to­gether the ad­join­ing edges so that you have a tri­an­gle shape. Pinch the edges to­gether. Put on a bak­ing tray and cook for 8-12 min­utes un­til golden. Al­low to cool and re­lax slightly be­fore eat­ing.

4 The mid­week supper

Pea and lemon zest gnudi

Pro­nounced “nudey” th­ese are lit­er­ally nude ravi­oli. They’re won­der­fully light-tex­tured and much more in­ter­est­ing and de­li­cious than their cousin gnoc­chi. You need to make th­ese 48 hours in ad­vance so that they hold to­gether in the wa­ter.

Serves 4

There is noth­ing bet­ter than the earthy sweet­ness of peas. They also add a beau­ti­ful colour and tex­ture to your plate

500g fresh ri­cotta 200g smashed peas 100g grated parme­san, plus ex­tra to serve Zest of ½ lemon 300g fine semolina Ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, to serve

1 Put the ri­cotta in a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain for at least an hour.

2 Mix the ri­cotta with the peas, parme­san and lemon zest in a bowl, and sea­son with salt and pep­per to taste.

3 Pour the semolina over a large tray. Us­ing slightly wet hands, roll the ri­cotta mix into small, ping pong-sized balls and gen­tly place them in the semolina. Gen­tly roll them to cover in the semolina. Be­ware, this bit can be messy! Make sure they don’t touch each other in the tray as they’ll stick. Once you’ve rolled all the mix, put the tray in the fridge and let them sit for 48 hours (and no longer than 72), shak­ing them ev­ery now and then in the semolina, un­til they form a del­i­cate protective skin.

4 To serve, bring a pan of salted wa­ter to the boil, then turn down the heat and poach the gnudi in sim­mer­ing wa­ter. They will float af­ter a few min­utes, at which point they are done. Re­move from the wa­ter with a slot­ted spoon, driz­zle with ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil and sprin­kle with a lit­tle ex­tra parme­san be­fore serv­ing.

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