Sweet Pea Pesto

July 30, 2010

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Lucky for me, peas were on sale last week for 3 euros a kilo. Even luckier, I’ve got some kind of spongy memory bank that, when it comes to recipes, sops up the good stuff and stores it far, far away, apparently, somewhere in my subconscious. So when I decided to make this little pea pesto, I knew how I wanted to put it together, but I didn’t know where I’d gotten the idea.

When I tasted it, I thought I was gonna die. This bright green sweet pea-Parmesany stuff was one of the best things I’d ever spread on top of bread (besides that Speculoos crack that they sell near the cash register at the Franprix).

I knew that I was not this brilliant. So I looked in my email box, and found one recipe by La Tartine Gourmande that’s similar, but more of a pea-hummus sort of thing. Was that where I got the idea, I wondered? No, it couldn’t be. I’d had a sticky note with the word, PEAS, on my wall for more than a month now, to remind me to buy them when I went to the market.

Then, finally, after clicking on a few favorite blogsites, I found the source of this incredible pea paste, or pesto, if you will. Or peaness, if you want to get all Michael Procopio on me, which is where I saw the idea first, almost two months ago, on his hilarious blog, Food for the Thoughtless.

Michael’s the man. He’s the one with the peaness. Not me.

See? We’re all connected. Everything is derivative. We all borrow from each other, reinterpret, add to, or take away from. And in some cases — even without knowing it — we steal.

Michael uses garlic, and I don’t, and I use mint where he uses chives and lemon zest, so is my version mine or an adaptation of his? Or is it inspired by?

What else has my subconscious picked up and run away with without telling me, I wonder?

I read a long post the other day by Dianne Jacob about this very thing — where recipes come from, and how we should attribute. It’s something that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to, because I’m in the midst of writing my first cookbook, and I’m very aware that I’m influenced by everything around me. For the record, I’m trying the best I can to try to remember where it all springs from in the vast emptiness otherwise known as my brain, and to give credit where credit’s due.

So Michael, Beatrice Peltre/La Tartine Gourmande, the man at the market with the 3 euro peas, and Darty, where I got my dreamy baby silver food processor, thank you. Thank you all for making my life a little more delicious.

Now, please pass me that pea spread/pesto/peaness or whatever you want to call it and let’s eat.

Sweet Pea Pesto

INGREDIENTS

1 kilo/2 pounds fresh peas
½ cup Parmesan, shredded
6 leaves mint
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Shell the peas. (I got about 4 cups from my batch, and this will vary depending on the size of your peas.)

2. Put a medium-size pot of salted water onto boil. When it boils, drop in the peas and set the timer for 2 minutes. While the peas are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water.

3. When the timer goes off, drain the peas in a colander, and put them in the ice water bath.

4. Make the pesto. In a food processor, add the drained peas and the rest of the ingredients and pulse just until combined (this is meant to be coarse rather than smooth). Put in the fridge for an hour or two to let the flavors come together.

Serve on top of grilled flatbread or country bread for maximum fun and fabulousness.

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