Overly zealous shopping is the mother of invention.
Ok, I know that’s not the saying, but it may as well because it’s certainly the case in my kitchen.
You know you’ve been there: you go to the farmer’s market looking for a few things but get pulled in by the stands of pitch-perfect produce. Well, I fell for the crates and crates of English peas and brought home a huge bag of peas and no time to cook them. As I had a need for an another appetizer for Easter brunch, I whizzed them together for this healthy, vegan (if you don’t use chicken broth, that is) dip that’s as at home tossed with pasta as it is spread on finger sandwiches for your next tea-time get together. (Ok, I don’t have tea service either but maybe you could surprise Mom with tangy cheese and pea purees sandwiches as part of her upcoming day.)
Minted Pea Puree Recipe
Makes about 3 cups
Because I also bought the last of the Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) on that farmer’s market trip, I fried them into chips to get through them all before they went bad. This recipe for Jerusalem Artichoke Chips was pretty much perfect match because their nutty, earthy flavor is a welcome contrast with the sweet, floral pea puree. If that’s too much work, try it with crudites (raw veggies like baby carrots, fennel, baby squash, green beans, cooked fingerling potatoes, etc) or with crostini or whole wheat crackers.
1 pound (about 3 cups) shelled English peas (or frozen baby peas)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Combine peas and broth in a medium frying pan or saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook until peas are bright green and tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer peas and half of the broth to a blender or food processor. Add mint, salt, and juice, and process until smooth. Add oil by pouring in a thin stream until fully incorporated. Add more broth, as desired, then let blender or processor run for another 30 seconds.Taste, stir in zest and adjust salt and pepper as desired. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until completely cooled. (Can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.)
Uses: dip, pasta sauce, sandwich spread, soup garnish
-Puree with 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds and serve over pasta
-Puree with 1 cup Greek yogurt
-Puree with 1 cup crumbled feta, goat cheese, and/or Parmesan cheese
-Add in a dollop of chile garlic sauce or harissa paste
-Use shelled, blanched fava beans in place of the English peas