Kerry & French Revolution in Food & Home Entertaining South Africa

A HUGE thank you to the team at Food & Home Entertaining in South Africa for profiling me and French Revolution for their all-things-French July issue.  It was such a pleasure, and I can’t thank you enough!  If you’re in SA, be sure to check it out.

Food & Home Entertaining South Africa Profile

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Camembert Fondue-in-a-Box with New Potatoes and Cornichons

RECIPE: Camembert Fondue-in-a-Box

Camembert Fondue in a BoxI feel so lucky.  My favorite weeks of the year are my summer holiday in France, and here I am!  We drove our little rented diesel Peugeot into the medieval town of Issigeac in the Perigord for market day today; then we stopped our car on the way back to the hotel in a field of sunflowers to feast on my finds.  The rain shot down all around us in angry cords, but we were warm and happy as we tucked into my little market bag.  Nothing can take away from the quivering happiness I take in the discussions I have at local French markets.  Mr. English indulges me by parking himself in a nearby cafe with his International New York Times.  Under the drizzle, I spent five full minutes with the tomato dealer debating the sweetness and firmness of a spectrum of tomato specimens.  My olive dealer walked me through his five varieties of tapenades, all with samples, before we settled together on La Melisse, a concoction of both black and green olives that he assured me was ‘faite maison’, or made by him himself.  And I spent considerable time in a frank conversation with the melon guy.  He didn’t want me to be disappointed.  We look forward to our melon de pays each summer, and this was to be our first.  ’They are very sweet,’ he assured me, ‘but if you want to eat it today, well, it’s complicated.’  Only in France could a melon be complicated.

I rounded it off with some tomme de brebis, aged six months, and a really huge baguette.  Mr. English got out the Laguiole pocketknife he bought yesterday in Sarlat for this exact purpose, and set to work on the tomatoes and melon and cheese on the dashboard.  I just started dipping the giant baguette into the tapenade.  The melon juice ran down on fingers.  It was happy.

Issigeac Market Collage

A peek at the Perigord markets…

Tomorrow, for le quatorze juillet, we will be eating duck confit in a little inn on our way to the Midi.  Hopefully, we will catch some fireworks, and be able to squeeze in our traditional annual game of pétanque.  But before I left London, I came up with the perfect recipe for cheats’ Camembert fondue in case you’re having people over for the occasion.  It will also work well as a nation-neutral snack for the big game tonight.

Start with a round of Camembert in a wooden box.  Open up the box and unwrap the cheese, then put the cheese back into the box, and wrap the box all around in aluminum foil.  Put the cheese in a hot oven for half an hour, break through the rind, and voilà, you have a little fondue-in-a-box.  I serve it with boiled or roasted new potatoes, and some little Maille cornichons.  It might sound weird to dip pickles into a cheese fondue, but it’s traditional.  The French always serve something sharp and fresh with things that are rich and heavy—like cornichons with pâté.  And I love it, so I do it too.  Just stack a potato and a cornichon on a little cocktail stick and dip into the molten Camembert.  It’s so good and convivial, and definitely easier than traditional fondue.

Bon app!

Maille_Cornichons_Jar Shot_14 oz

Merci, Maille, for the cornichons! Maille cornichons are available to buy in many supermarkets and online. Click the picture for the link.

Camembert Fondue-in-a-Box
serves 10

Camembert Fondue in a BoxINGREDIENTS

  • 1 250g round of Camembert in a wooden box
  • 2 pounds boiled or roasted baby new potatoes
  • 50 Maille cornichons

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Open the Camembert box, and take the wrapper off the cheese.  Place the cheese back on the box, wrap the box tightly in aluminum foil, and place the box on a small rimmed baking sheet, just to catch any melted cheese that might escape.  Bake for 30 minutes.  At that time, pierce the top rind of the cheese, and the cheese should be runny within.  If not, rewrap the box in the foil, and continue baking until the cheese is molten and dip-able.

Serve with roasted or boiled baby new potatoes, cornichons, and cocktail sticks.  I will either boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, or roast them with olive oil, salt, and fresh thyme in a 400 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Dips, Spreads, Preserves, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Vegetarian
 

Fourth of July with Maille: Jambon Beurre Cornichon Tartines for Nibbling

RECIPE: Mini Jambon Beurre Cornichon Tartines

Jambon Beurre Cornichon TartineMr. English and I have left our apartment in London.  We have a few weeks between jobs, and I feel like a real literary heroine from the late nineteenth century, on a true European tour.  But before we left our flat, we had some assets to divest, and they had to be divested appropriately.

Over the course of the last three years, we have bought, and received, an extraordinarily substantial amount of wine.  Engagement gifts.  Wedding gifts.  Christmas gifts from the office.  Gifts from Mr. English’s family as they want abroad and wanted to bring us back a taste of wherever.  Gifts for dinner parties.  Gifts we bought for other people’s dinner parties that we forgot to take with us and remembered only once we were on the Tube.  You get the picture.  We had a stash, and we weren’t going to pay duties to ship it across the sea and into a giant pile in our new New York apartment.

Jambon Beurre Cornichon 2So we invited some close friends for a Sips and Bites party.  I had absolutely no kitchen equipment in the house except a beat up old cookie sheet I got from Publix eight years ago that was going in the trash anyway.  Service would be on paper and plastic.  So everything had to be super-simple.  Maille, my favorite French mustard and pickle company, had gifted me with some of my favorite jars to develop into recipes.  It was my last assignment to complete before I headed off on the holiday of a lifetime.  But they had to be really easy, because all I had was the Publix baking sheet and the mustard and pickles!

Here’s the first recipe, which is a spin on the classic French sandwich the jambon-beurre, just in time for July 4th.  The following three recipes I’ll be doing over the course of the summer, so stay tuned!

The jambon-beurre is not intuitive back home in America.  The idea of buttering ham may seem a little over the top.  But don’t think of the butter as an extra—think of it as an ingredient.  Good, sweet cream butter in a thick enough layer to counteract the salty and sometimes smoky attitude of the ham.  It’s a perfect marriage.  Served on baguette, it is so good and Chanel-suit classic.  But what I also love is the French tradition of pairing any kind of charcuterie, be it salami (rosette de Lyon!) or rillettes or terrine, with cornichons.  The acidic twang of the little pickles smashes through the decadence and gaminess of the meat—and, in this case, the richness of the butter.

Jambon Beurre Cornichon 3Here’s my little party spin, which would make a fantastic something to nibble on while you get everything on and off the grill on Friday.  Instead of using ham in the charcuterie sense, I simply roast a pork tenderloin (I used olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme, but you could change up the herbs, used dried herbes de Provence, or even use Maille wholegrain mustard on the outside) until it is juicy and tender, and then thinly slice it.  You could either do this ahead in the oven while your grill is warming up, or you could do it on the grill itself which would add a fabulous depth of flavor—just cook the pork until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, then let it rest for 10 minutes.

I cut a baguette into rounds slightly thicker than the ham.  Because the diameter of the baguette and the tenderloin are nearly identical, they make perfect little tartines.  I spread the baguette rounds with butter, lay on a slice of the pork, and then topped with a Maille cornichon, halved and crossed on top.

I have to say, I was not disappointed.  These jambon-beurre-cornichons flew off the (plastic) tray in minutes.  I had mine with a little trickle of crème de pêche topped with sparkling water.  I will miss my water kirs in New York!  Bon app, and Happy Independence Day from a long ways away!

Maille Cornichon Collage

Cornichon sampling at the Maille superstore in London

Maille cornichons are available in the US here.

Mini Jambon Beurre Cornichon Tartines
serves 10

Jambon Beurre Cornichon TartineINGREDIENTS

  • 1 400g pork tenderloin
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 1 baguette, sliced into thinnish rounds
  • Unsalted butter to taste, room temperature
  • About 20 Maille cornichons, halved lengthwise (you’ll need the same amount as baguette slices, which will depend on your baguette and the thickness of your slices!)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Pat the pork dry with paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Rub all over with olive oil, and pick the leaves from the herbs and lightly dress them in olive oil as well.  Arrange the pork on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and top with the herbs.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.  Allow to rest 10 minutes, and then slice thinly.

To assemble the tartines, smear each baguette round with butter and top with a slice of pork and two cornichon halves, crossed over each other.  Arrange on a platter and serve!

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Sandwiches
 

Lamb Shank Mechoui with Mina Green Harissa Fennel and Herb Slaw and Whole Wheat Citrus Couscous

RECIPE: Lamb Shank Mechoui with Mina Green Harissa Fennel and Herb Slaw and Whole Wheat Citrus Couscous

Lamb Shank Mechoui Green Harissa SlawMost little girls grow up dreaming of the big white wedding.  I grew up dreaming of my henna.  The night before any good French-Moroccan girl’s holy matrimony, the whole wedding party gets together for what I have always described as a co-ed bachelorette.  The fête gets its name from the henna that is used to stain the palms of the hands of all the female attendants—instead, I asked a henna artist to come and paint intricate patterns.  Mémé was aghast at the change in tradition—she had given me her WWII reparations money to pay for the party, and was so lovely and generous about allowing me to do anything I wanted with it, despite her obvious trepidation.  I wore a white silk velvet caftan I’d bought at La Maison du Caftan in Marrakech, embroidered in gold.  But it was short, with slits, and long sleeves, and I wore it with gold Prada platforms.  Mémé clucked at me from her floor-length version.  Leave it to me to New York the henna, and I sensed her worry that her precious party was about to go to a place she didn’t recognize.

We booked out Le Palmier in Tours, a wonderfully mosaiced restaurant, reminiscent of memories of Mémé’s childhood riad, that I stocked with the henna artist, a live Moroccan trio, a belly dancer, and a card magician—a tradition you’ll see in restaurants in Morocco, where a man will come sit at your table and entrance you with sleight of hand.  My great uncle David, Mémé’s brother, had mesmerized me as a child at Friday night dinners, and I just had to have it.  For dinner, we served all my Moroccan favorites, which Mr. English has come to love too, thanks to Mémé and the trip to Marrakech to get the caftan.  Crisp, juicy, spicy and smoky merguez, charred black.  Couscous with vegetables and chick peas in broth to pour over it.  A million little salads to start, fresh and crisp and bright.  And of course, mechoui—slowly braised shoulder of lamb, simply done in broth, so that the meat falls apart and shreds and the broth soaks into the couscous and makes it savory and stunning and addictive.

Kerry Henna

Photo by my extraordinarily talented cousin, the photographer and director Yonathan Kellerman: www.ykellerman.com

After dinner, once the mint tea had been drained and the sesame cookies had been reduced to crumbs.  Once Tonton David has asked all my prettiest friends to join him in belly dancing while he had a bottle of red wine open on his head.  Once Mr. English had danced with Mémé, a fez bought in the souk perched on his decidedly English head, she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, unbelievingly, “But Kerry, you thought of everything!  It is as a henna should be.”  And I realized how strange it must be to her, who left Morocco for France as a teenager after the war, to end up with a New Yorker for a grand-daughter.  It meant very much to me for her to see that our difference in the brave new world was something to be openly celebrated.  And our American and English guests were just as celebratory as the French and Moroccan—Moroccans know how to party, and that’s a language everyone can understand.

Mina, the harissa evangelist behind Mina harissa, sent me her new green harissa and asked me to develop a few recipes around it.  When I told her I’d be starting with mechoui, she wrote back, “Good—the king of dishes!”  It is regal, the feastiness of it, which is why I chose it to anchor our henna banquet.  But as I am always trying to reinvent Moroccan classics, again to Mémé’s horror, I wanted to find a way to merge the litany of small Moroccan salads into our main meal, to lighten up the mechoui, and to bring some modernity to the course load of a Moroccan dinner at home.

Kerry Henna 2For the mechoui itself, I used lamb shanks—they braise so beautifully and make for individual portions of mechoui, which I like.  I braised them in broth with mint and cilantro and cumin and garlic—simple but honest.  I served them with my citrus couscous.  It’s the best alternative to plain white couscous.

Then, as a bright relish, I created a fennel and herb salad to top the stewed meat and add crunch and flavor and freshness.  Mina’s green harissa, with its mild heat and cumin smokiness, formed the cornerstone of its dressing, and the fresh mint and cilantro echoed the cooked braising herbs.  The contrast was so fresh and the flavors so authentic—even if the preparation decidedly wasn’t—that even Mémé, so incredulous during the three-hour braise that she had fully snacked her way through a bag of almonds and a Scotch on the rocks, ate with gusto.

Proof that the more things change, the better they can become, so long as a little kernel, at the root, remains the same.

Mina_Harissa_line

Lamb Shank Mechoui with Mina Green Harissa Fennel and Herb Slaw and Whole Wheat Citrus Couscous
serves 4

Lamb Shank Mechoui Green Harissa SlawINGREDIENTS

Lamb Shank Mechoui

  • 1 tablespoon ras-el-hanout
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 cups beef broth (low-sodium and organic if possible)
  • 1 small bunch mint
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 1 small bunch thyme

Citrus Couscous

  • 2 cups whole wheat couscous
  • The zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • The zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt

Green Harissa Slaw

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Mina green harissa
  • The seeds from 1 pomegranate (optional)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  In a small bowl, mix together the ras-el-hanout and cumin.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper, and the spice blend.  In a heavy, wide braising pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sear the lamb to a light golden brown on all sides.  Add the garlic, the beef broth, 1 cup water, and the small bunches of mint, cilantro, and thyme.  Bring the broth to a boil.  Cover, and place in the oven for 3 hours.

To make the couscous, boil 2 cups of water.  In a bowl, stir together the couscous, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.  Top with the water, and cover the bowl with a lid, plate, or plastic wrap—anything so the steam can’t escape.  Let sit 5-6 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Next, make the slaw.  Put the mint, cilantro, fennel, scallions (I slice the fennel and scallions with the thin slicing disc on a food processor, but you could also use a mandoline or a knife), olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and the harissa in a bowl, and toss to combine just before serving.  Decant into a serving bowl and top with the pomegranate seeds if using.

Bring the lamb mechoui, steaming, to the table, along with the bowls of fluffy, bright couscous and the crisp, hot slaw.  I serve with Greek or natural yogurt and more Mina green harissa on the table.  Let everyone build his or her own Moroccan feast.  Regale yourself.

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Categories: Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes
 

Soy Ginger Eggplant and Sugar Snaps for a Virtuous Night

RECIPE: Ginger Soy Eggplant and Sugar Snaps

Ginger Soy Eggplant and Sugar SnapsAfter six years, Mr. English and I are moving back to New York.  I thought this day would never come!  And now it’s coming so fast I don’t think I can my life together in time.  Instead of my original plan—living it up like tourists in London and seeing every last thing, visiting every last favorite place, walking down every light white-buildinged streed—we spent our Saturday in our little ‘flat’, doing life admin—like figuring out whether you can ship cases of French wine back into the States.

I made a virtuous dinner for our evening of adult responsibility.  Ginger Soy Eggplant and Sugar Snaps, inspired by a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, one of the cookbooks that I actually use religiously in my day-to-day life (I cherish my signed copy!).  I served it up with my favorite recipe from that book, Seaweed Brown Fried Rice.  I often make it once a week, and it’s worth the price of the book alone.

I roast the eggplant and sugar snaps, rubbed in ginger and chilies, separately, but at the same time, so the snaps stay snappy and the eggplant become soft and charred.  Then, a quick toss in toasted sesame oil for that nuttiness, soy for that saltiness, and cilantro for that grassiness.  It is so good.  Below, my riff on the original (which is grilled and has no sugar snaps).

Brown Fried Rice

The seaweed brown fried rice from It’s All Good

Ginger Soy Eggplant and Sugar Snaps
serves 2 as a main and 4 as a side

Ginger Soy Eggplant and Sugar SnapsINGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons coarsley grated ginger
  • 1 chili, minced
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas
  • 2 medium eggplants, medium sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4-5 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce (or taste)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the ginger, chili, sunflower oil, and a pinch of salt.  Toss the sugar snaps with one spoonful of the mixture and place on a small parchment-lined baking sheet.  Set aside.  Toss the eggplant with the rest of the ginger paste.  Place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until soft and golden-brown.  5 minutes before the eggplant are done, place the the sugar snaps on a second rack in the oven.

Meanwhile, in a serving bowl, mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce, and cilantro.  Add the hot eggplant and sugar snaps and toss to combine, allowing the eggplant to soak up all the flavor.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
 

Grilled Sea Scallops with Mina Harissa-Butter Carrots

RECIPE: Grilled Sea Scallops with Honey-Harissa Carrots

Scallops with Red Harissa CarrotsComfort food.  Indeed, I find comfort in almost all foods.  But I always say comfort food is the food of memory—of childhood holidays and snowy nights and starry summer evenings.

It’s funny.  I, like so many people, have a mixed bag of a heritage.  Sometimes I get stressed just deciding which comfort food I really need to de-stress.  I think that might be the New York in me.  Am I in need of a big bagel, poppy seeds spraying everywhere, to feel better?  Try finding that where I live in London…

Or my maman’s pistou made from basil she picked up at the Woodstock farm stand, puddling over Fairway’s cheese ravioli?  Or her salted roast whole duck?  Or her bubbling, blipping potatoes au gratin?

I love those things, and I reach for them often, but truth be told, sometimes all I want is my Moroccan fix, grace à my mémé, with her green olive stew and messy couscouses and sauces that I can spend an entire baguette wiping up.  Sometimes homesick means missing her giant spread of salads that I attack within five minutes of walking through her door.  Sometimes, I just need a kick up the fill-in-the-blank instead of the fatty blandness of so many other comforts.  There’s nothing to clear your head like harissa.  You can take the girl out of Morocco—by a couple generations—but I guess you can never really get the Morocco out of the girl.

I’m sure many of you know harissa, but if you don’t, it’s a Moroccan condiment, a punchy pepper and spice paste made from chilies and olive oil and garlic and the usual heady secret blend of Moroccan spices.  (Little known fact: my great-grandfather ran an olive, pickle, and spice shop in Casa.  My hero!)  Harissa has a pungency that other hot sauces can only dream about and sniff at from the other side of the hot sauce aisle.  For years I was reduced to trafficking it from Paris in little tubes that I would hoard in the butter section of my fridge.  Not expensive, just impossible to find outside of the former French empire.  And irreplaceable.

So when harissa entrepreneur Mina asked if she could send me a few jars of her classic red and new green harissas, I thought, yes!  This is what the American (and now British) public needs!  Easy and consistent access to jars of harissa that, frankly, don’t look a little bit suspect and have the ingredients list in our alphabet.  Shortly thereafter, I saw a headline proclaiming harissa to be this year’s sriracha.  Finally!  For a harissa evangelist, I felt the satisfaction of the mounting ‘I told you so’ building at the back of my throat.  I smiled smugly.

Harrisa Carrot Scallops 2I brought the jars to maman’s house a few weeks ago, when I knew Mémé would be visiting.  I love riling up her sense of dominance in the kitchen.  This is the woman who once didn’t tell me the secret to her famed Moroccan salmon was preserved lemons because, well, that was the secret!  So she tends to be hyper-critical of my new-fangled Moroccan concoctions—in a loving way of course.

I made a two-course meal.  We always finish Moroccan nights with fresh fruit, so that doesn’t count.  The first was Grilled Sea Scallops with Honey-Harissa Carrots.  I love seafood with Moroccan flavors.  The sweet delicacy of the fish may seem too demure to match the heat and spice of a harissa, for example, but the pairing is actually the perfect balance.  Another thing to try: fried calamari dusted with ras-el-hanout and doused in citrus.  It’s incredible.

I took a cheat and bought matchstick carrots at the supermarket.  I cooked them in just a little too much butter just to soften them slightly, and then I stirred in the harissa and a little bit of honey to balance the heat and accentuate the sweetness of the carrots into the butter to create a sauce.  The harissa turns the butter lava red, and the pungency finds its vehicle to spread itself through all the carrots, and in the end, the nooks and crannies of the scallops.  Harissa butter is to die for.

I top the carrots with simply grilled scallops and toast pine nuts.  Serve it with some kind of vehicle for dredging up that butter—for us, it’s baguette.

Mémé actually said, “Kerry, this is delicious.”  She ate every bite.  In true Moroccan fashion, she wiped the harissa butter from the plate with the baguette.  Mina, I owe you one! You are my preserved lemons!

The recipe for the Lamb Shank Mechoui with Green Harissa Slaw and Citrus Couscous will be on the blog later this week!  Bon app!

 

Mina Harissa

Thank you, Mina, for the harissa!

Grilled Sea Scallops with Honey-Harissa Carrots
serves 4 to start

Scallops with Red Harissa CarrotsINGREDIENTS

  • 8 large sea scallops, patted dry on paper towel
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup julienned or shredded carrots
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Mina red harissa
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

METHOD

Preheat a grill pan on the stove.  Rub the scallops light with olive oil, and sear 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until firm and opaque in the center.

Meanwhile, in a smallish nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the carrots.  Season with salt.  In just 1 to 2 minutes, they should slightly soften and lighten.  You want them still slightly crisp, so at that point, shut off the heat, and stir in the Mina red harissa and honey.  Spread the carrots and their honey-harissa butter on a serving dish, either individual plates or a platter, top with the grilled scallops and finally pine nuts.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Easy, Eat, Fish, For a Crowd, Individual, Main Courses, Recipes
 

Double-Pea Lunch

RECIPE: Warm Pea Shoot Salad and Smashed Peas on Toast

Peas Two WaysIt’s a bank holiday here in London–also known as Monday off.  It’s so like the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks.  You know it’s coming, but that still doesn’t take away from the surprising sense of cherish you have for it.  The sun is shining, I’m just back from yoga, and I feel like something virtuous but interesting–and fresh!  Spring has been so long in coming this year, that I want to taste it at every possible opportunity.

I ransacked my freezer, where I always keep a bag of peas.  But, as it’s spring, I also ordered a bag of pea shoots in this week’s shop.  I love the French trope of doing something two ways.  On many a haute cuisine menu you’ll see salmon two ways, asparagus two ways, or tomatoes two ways.  So, why not peas two ways?  And using both the pea itself and the sprout, I feel like this is a timely riff on vegetarian nose-to-tail cooking.  Who knew lunch by myself could be so cuilnarily political!?

I whiz up the peas with basil, pine nuts, lemon zest, Pecorino, and olive oil for a light, creamy, bright kind of pea pesto that I slather on grilled bread.  And on the side, a lightly wilted pea shoot salad.  Both get a last minute spritz of lemon for a little jolt.  Sweet peas.  Bitter pea shoots.  I devoured it.

Warm Pea Shoot Salad and Smashed Peas on Toast
serves 2 to 3

Peas Two WaysINGREDIENTS

Warm Pea Shoot Salad

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced or grated (optional)
  • 2 2.5-oz bags of pea shoots
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Smashed Peas on Toast

  • 6 thick slices of good country bread—I prefer pain au levain
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 ounce Pecorino cheese, roughly crumbled by hand
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 lemon cheeks, for serving

METHOD

In a small skillet, the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, if using, and 15 seconds later, add the pea shoots, salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat, and toss until wilted.  Add the lemon zest, toss, and set aside.

Set the bread on a grill or in the toasted to char lightly.  Meanwhile, combine the peas, basil, Pecorino, pine nuts, lemon zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper in the food processor.  Whiz until nearly smooth, but still with a big of texture.  Smear the smashed peas thickly on the charred bread, squirt with lemon, and eat NOW!

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Dips, Spreads, Preserves, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian