Feature

In season: peas

Green Lifestyle

If you've been good enough to start growing peas in your vegie patch already this year, you can look forward to making these delicious recipes straight from the garden to your plate soon.

peas

Quick tip: Pea pods don’t keep well once picked, so use them as quickly as possible after harvesting.

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Giving as much to the garden as they take, peas replenish the soil with nitrogen captured from the air and stored in nodes on the roots. At this time of the year, they are young, thin-skinned, and deliciously sweet.

Quick Pea Soup

Finely chop half an onion and sauté in a little butter or olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until soft then add ¼ clove of chopped garlic and cook for five minutes more. Add two cups of freshly podded peas, cover and reduce heat. Cook for a further five minutes and add four cups of homemade stock. Season with a little salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little and blend until smooth in a food processor. Serve with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes, with some toasted sourdough on the side. Serves 4.

Fresh Pea Dip

Take a cup of freshly podded peas, the smaller the better, and quickly blanch in a pot of boiling water for one minute. Drain and refresh by placing in cold water for a few minutes. Drain. Tear up a thick slice of sourdough bread, crust and all, and blend in a food processor until small breadcrumbs have formed. Add the peas, a small sprig of fresh mint leaves, several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, several tablespoons of water, a pinch of salt and ½ teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika (optional). Process until a smooth paste forms. If you prefer a less stiff dip add more water or extra virgin olive oil. Adjust seasoning if desired. Serve with crudités of carrot, celery and red pepper. Serves 4.

Roasted Red Pepper, Pea and Sweet Potato Salad

Turn the oven to 200°C. Peel three medium sweet potatoes and slice into 1 cm rounds. Place in a bowl with some olive oil and a little salt and mix well. Lay on a baking tray and place in the oven. Place 2 whole red capsicums on another smaller tray, sprinkle with salt and place in oven. Cook the sweet potato for 10–15 minutes, turn each round over and return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and place in a large serving bowl. Cook the capsicum for 50–60 minutes or until cooked. When cool, remove skin and seeds and discard. Cut into strips and add to sweet potato with a cup of blanched peas (see Pea Dip recipe). Make a mustard vinaigrette (1 tablespoon French mustard, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, juice of one lemon) and pour over vegetables. Mix well and decorate with four medium boiled eggs, quartered (optional), some sliced black olives and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Serves 4.