Wednesday, April 29, 2015

English Pea Mash on Garlic Rubbed Bruschetta

I love spring peas...all kinds.  Snow, Sugar Snap and English are my favorites.  I decided to play with a classic preparation, mashed peas with mint, and use as a topping for garlic rubbed grilled bread (bruschetta). Most mashed pea recipes call for butter...and cream...and cheese and, while these dishes are delicious, I wanted to keep the clean, light taste of the fresh peas.  My version uses leeks, mint (of course) and olive oil with just a touch of red pepper flakes for bit of heat.  This is wonderful with the garlic on the bruschetta for an appetizer or light lunch.

You can serve the mash as a side dish without the bread. When I serve it this way I add a sliced clove of garlic to the leaks in the first step so it is pureed into the peas.  Either way the garlic adds wonderful flavor to the peas, leeks, and mint.

 English Pea Mash on Garlic Rubbed Bruschetta
(serves 6)

extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green part, sliced
4 cups fresh english peas (or 2 10 oz bags frozen)
2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup water
pinch dried red pepper flakes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
coarse grey salt

1 loaf french or sourdough bread (loaf, boule or baguette) sliced into pieces about 1 inch thick
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled

Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet.  Add leeks and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened. Add peas, mint, water, red pepper flakes and a pinch each salt and pepper to skillet.  Saute for 3-5 minutes or until hot.  (If using frozen peas, cover pan until peas are defrosted and then remove cover and cook for a couple of additional minutes).  Add all ingredients to food processor and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Pulse until smooth with a bit of texture. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Add back to pan, cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, grill or broil bread on each side until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and immediately rub each slice of bread with a garlic clove.  Mound pea mash over bread and drizzle with excellent quality olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. Serve immediately.

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