I’ve mentioned here more than once that as the weather warms, I try to prepare more simple, fresh foods. This spread is a perfect example. I love peas. Their slightly sweet flavor, that beautiful pop of color– they make every dish better. When they start to become available at the local farmers markets, we eat them by the pound. But– and here’s some real talk now– they rarely make it into a recipe. By the time we’re done shelling them, they have been mostly eaten raw. And if not, they’re a stand-alone side for our summer meals. Here, I wanted to keep things simple, yet incorporate peas as the star ingredient.
For this dish I’ve added a few simple ingredients and a different style of preparation in order to turn ordinary peas into a delicious and healthy appetizer. Sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, mint, and a bit of anchovy really work with the subtle flavor of peas. Don’t be scared of the anchovy– it adds depth, a bit of saltiness, but doesn’t taste fishy. Add a few other nibbles, and you’ve got yourself a meal. Make them with your freshly shelled peas, if you have them, or just rely on a bag of frozen organic ones from the freezer. It just takes a few minutes from start to finish to get this delicious spread on the table.
My favorite way to serve this spread is on a grilled baguette brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. It is heavenly. And if you’re worried about the bread, no problem. I also serve it along with other vegetables, including radishes and endive. It’s brilliant. As for the endive, if you’re not familiar with it, you should become so. It’s a wonderful vegetable that is fantastic served with spreads– the shape makes it easy to fill. It tastes great, and is a wonderful option if you are gluten-free or just trying not to consume as much wheat. These smashed summer peas are a delicious healthy option for your 4th of July celebration (for my American friends) this weekend. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and over-indulge on chips, burgers, and all other sorts of less-healthy foods in the midst of celebrating. With this on your table, you don’t have to worry about it. Hope you enjoy!
The Recipe: Smashed Summer Pea Spread
10 ounces fresh or frozen organic peas (If using fresh, blanch for a minute or so. If using frozen, just thaw)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 large sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1-2 anchovies, finely minced
1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
juice of 1/4 small lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large mint leaves, finely minced
In a medium-sized bowl, add the peas, garlic, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, salt, olive oil, and mint. Using a potato masher or fork, smash the ingredients together. The final texture is up to you. I like it to be a little bit creamy, with definite chunks of ingredients within it. Taste and re-season, if necessary. Serve it with endive, radishes, and grilled bread. Enjoy!
I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!