Last month I had dinner at my friend Dana’s house. It was a casual evening so we could catch up, and so I could see her two adorable littles. Sort of a ladies night! I arrived in a kitchen filled with the aroma of fresh mint, and a chilled glass of Rose being put into my hand as soon as I put my bag down. I instantly knew it was going to be a great evening. While Dana finished the final touches on dinner, I was given the grand tour by her two eager little guys waiting to show me everything in their rooms. With a crisp glass of rose in one hand and a baguette with smashed pea spread in the other, I head out on my tour.
For those of you who do not know Dana, you should get to know her. She is not only an amazing person but a fantastic home-chef who makes some damn good vegetarian inspired meals. She provokes me through her recipes to eat more veggie-rich meals, and I have a feeling she will do the same to you. This warm pre-summer evening was no different. I learned that we would be having a snacky dinner. God, I loved just 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 there and the oven is not going to be turned on. Snacky dinner this particular evening was assorted cheeses, a tossed green salad, and this amazing spread made with fresh favas. Yes, I was hooked.
Since that evening I have made my own version of snacky dinner quite often; honestly, it has been making a regular appearance over here. I like to call this recipe Smashed Pea Spread. While it sounds just ho-hum, trust me it is amazing. My recipe is made with fresh English peas that have been lightly blanched, then pureed with fresh mint, Parmesan Reggiano, garlic, lemon and a small amount of ricotta. I smear the smashed peas all over grilled slices of baguette and top it with more grated cheese, a sprinkle of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. There is snacky dinner.
Smashed Pea Spread
2 1/2 cups fresh English Peas
1/4 cup mint
1/4 grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 small fresh garlic clove
small lemon washed
1 tablespoon ricotta
1/4 cup olive oil
Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes.
Immediately cover with very cold water. I add ice as well. Continue until the peas are cooled off.
Drain. Let dry for 10 minutes.
Zest the lemon using a Microplane.
Add the peas, mint, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 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 kosher salt.
Serve on toasted slices of bread with a sprinkle of cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.