My friend Dana invited me over for a girls catch up the other evening. Upon arrival, she immediately put a glass of rose in one hand and a toasted piece of bread with a smear of mashed fava bean spread in the other. While she finished the final touches on dinner we caught up and continued stuffing my face full of this deliciousness. I instantly fell in love with this recipe and started thinking about how I could make a smashed pea spread at home with the fresh English peas I had grabbed at the farmer’s market.
For those of you who do not know Dana, you should get to know her. She is not only an amazing human being but also a fantastic home-chef who. She really does make the best vegetarian inspired meals. She also provokes me through her recipes to eat more veggie-rich meals. I have a feeling she will do the same for you. This warm pre-summer evening was no different.
I learned that tonight we would be enjoying a snack inspired dinner. Gosh, I loved the sound of that. Snacky dinner is meant for those lazy nights when you really don’t want to cook, or when it is blistering hot out and the oven is not going to be turned on. Or when you just want to catch up with your people. Snacky dinner this particular evening was assorted cheeses, a tossed green salad, and this smashed pea spread which she made with fresh fava beans. I was hooked and knew I had to make it sooner than later.
I have been making my own version of snacky dinner quite often. Honestly, it has been making a regular appearance on our Chez Us table. My recipe is made with fresh English peas instead of fava beans. The peas are lightly blanched, then pureed with fresh mint, Parmesan Reggiano, garlic, lemon, and some ricotta. I like to serve it with grilled or toasted baguettes as well as grainy crackers. It will also pair with crisp raw veggies.
This recipe for smashed pea spread will be great as a snacky dinner or to enjoy with a glass of wine as an appetizer.
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Smashed Pea Spread
2 1/2 cups fresh English Peas
1/4 cup mint
1/4 grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 small fresh garlic clove, peeled
small lemon washed
2 1/2 tablespoons ricotta
1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add some salt.
Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain, and immediately cover with very cold water. I use ice as well. Continue until the peas are cooled off.
Drain. Let dry for 10 minutes.
Zest the lemon.
Add the peas, mint, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon peel, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until blended.
Add the ricotta, mix for 30 seconds.
With the food processor running add the olive oil. Pulse until mixed well.
Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese.