Ooh – I wish the ‘Pink’ one would heed these wise words (the ‘peace’ bit’), endless sleepless nights seem to have enveloped the ‘little people’. The ‘Pink’ one probably has the best excuse of all, poor little egg has got a rather cumbersome pair of white plaster of Paris wellington boots on – horribly heavy and a real burden in bed, but for now lets talk about those peas! It is only Thursday and somehow we have had ‘peas’ for the last 3 evenings on the trot! I love peas, frozen and fresh, actually I can’t really understand what there is not to like about them; which is why when I saw a small child wearing a bright green t-shirt saying ‘give peas a chance’ I chuckled and smiled to myself loving the double meaning behind those clever letters. Frozen peas absurdly are probably more family friendly than freshly podded peas, probably because they are so speedily frozen, meaning their intense, initial sweetness is preserved forever. Podded peas taste and look completely different, I think they have a certain wonton sexiness, splitting open their rigid pods revealing a uniform line of peas is one of Summers great treats. As for taste, unless you are lucky enough to pick and eat your own (the slugs did this favour for us), podded peas just are not as sweet as their frozen cousins, their trump card is texture. Left uncooked such perfect peas are just delicious served with their crunch intact.
The broad bean bonanza! Hand in hand with podded peas come broad beans on my list of most eaten summer vegetables. I do grow these, usually with some success, but again no sign of them being ready for a while. As a child I loathed them, no one had introduced me, or had the time, inclination or desire to ‘double-pod’ them. Now of course I would not serve them any other way – but take my word – it is time-consuming! There is however something quite therapeutic about slipping them out of their tough leathery jackets revealing their lush bright green glossy skins, which are unrivaled in color.
So after my little rant about peas, beans and pods, my new summer starter this week is the shockingly simple, ‘Fresh Pea, Broad Bean and Burrata salad with garden mint and chives’. I served a variation of this to a long-lost chum from Africa the week before using feta and baby new potatoes which was equally delicious and as she said ‘reminded her of everything she missed about English Summer vegetables’ – no broad beans in Malawi! It can be bulked out or toned down, this week we had it as a rather spoiling starter swiftly followed by homemade beef burgers with ‘Tomato and Chilli Jam’ and garden salad, talk about the sublime to the ridiculous! The real joy about it is that it takes minutes to make and can only really be eaten now.
Fresh Pea, Broad Bean and Burrata Salad
Serves 2 people
1 Burrata (or fresh mozarella or half a packet of feta)
2 handfuls or freshly podded peas
2 handfuls of double podded broad beans
1 tablespoon of freshly cut garden mint and chives
Zest of 1 lemon
Really good olive oil – a good splash
Maldon seat salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the peas, broad beans, olive oil, mint, chives, pepper and salt in a bowl.
Now tear up the burrata and layer up between the peas and broad beans.
Add a little extra olive oil if it needs it and serve as a starter or a light lunch with toasted sourdough bread.