Woohoo! After a long chilly winter, spring has finally sprung here on the East Coast. It has been a frosty end to the winter. I, for one, am ready to toss off those layers and head to the kitchen to make lighter, brighter meals. The earth is vibrating ready for new beginnings.
Until those fresh vegetables begin to spring forth from the garden, I at least can brighten up the day with a pea pesto made with frozen peas that can really help fill the gap. This sweet, minty, lemony pea pesto is a wonderful way to welcome in the new season and is super (ridiculously!) easy to pull together. A quick whirl in the food processor and those little green beauties turn into a creamy delicious pesto that can be used for your antipasto, mixed with warm pasta for a delicious sauce or even spread on a platter before you top it with chicken or fish.
I have included two fave antipasto recipes for this delicious pesto. First, in order to accommodate some gluten-free friends for a recent dinner party, I made a farinata (also known as socca in France) – an Italian pancake made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt. Amazingly simple but amazingly delicious. I topped it with a bit of the pea pesto, whole peas and Parmesan. Big hit!
The next day, with more company arriving and plenty of pea pesto remaining, the pea pesto and a container of fresh ricotta were the hit of the meal. Just take a plate, dollop some ricotta on the plate and spread, then swirl in some of the fresh pea pesto. Add some toasty, crunchy bread. Fun way to serve!
Welcome Spring – we have been waiting!!
A bright, lemony pea pesto to welcome Spring! Super easy recipe that is sure to impress.
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen baby peas, defrosted
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- 1/3 cup basil
- ½ cup Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
In a food processor, pulse together the peas, garlic, mint, basil, Parmesan, lemon juice, 1-teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. While the machine is running, add in the olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
Antipasto 1: Pea Pesto and Ricotta Dip
· Pea pesto from recipe above
· Fresh ricotta
· Extra virgin olive oil
· For garnish: mint leaves, basil, pea shoots, flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
· Toasted slices of baguette
Take a large serving platter and spread the ricotta on the platter. Swirl with a spoon. Take a few tablespoons of the pesto and swirl into the ricotta. Drizzle the platter with olive oil. Garnish with mint leaves, basil leaves, pea shoots. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and a few swirls of pepper. Serve with lots of toasted bread.
Antipasto 2: Farinata with Pea Pesto
For the farinata:
· 1 cup chickpea flour
· 1 cup water
· 2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the topping:
· Pea pesto
· Fresh peas
· Parmesan cheese
· For garnish: mint leaves, basil, pea shoots, flaky sea salt
Make the farinata: In a bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and water. Add in the olive oil and salt. Whisk until light and airy. Cover and set the batter aside to rest for at least 1 hour; up to 12 hours if you have the time.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven is up to temperature, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, pour in the batter and tip the pan so the batter covers the bottom. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until firm. Place under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.
Allow to cool slightly. Top with the pea pesto, fresh peas, Parmesan cheese, mint leaves, pea shoots. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and serve!