Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mint Condition

Few ingredients scream SPRING!! to me more than fresh peas. The thing is, there are few things in life that I hate more than shucking peas - fava beans being one of them - hence my love for the the more practical pea vines and fava leaves. Not only do they offer all of the flavor of their more popular pod stars, but they're a fraction of the cost, which translates into high class dishes at affordable prices to you.

I'll save my rare gem, fava leaves, for next week. In the meantime I want to focus on the more prevalent climber, pea vines.

Over the years I have amassed great knowledge about what flavors work best with peas, like the freshness of mint, the earthiness of caraway and the crispness of radishes. I feel that this dish expresses what could possibly be the perfect matching for all of these ingredients.

First, I wanted to make a thick puree of the pea vines by first slowly cooking the whites of spring onions and garlic in butter, and then cooking down the vines with half and half. I quickly pureed and strained it to make sure the sauce is silky smooth and set the vibrant color.

Seafood plays well with that bright, green flavor so I chose to pan-seared scallops to match with it, though the real emphasis is on the accompanying salad that features the epitome of my pea pairings: a salad of freshly sliced and julienned radishes like English breakfast, purple and Cincinnati, that I enhanced by adding the finely chopped leaves as well. To this I also added the classic fresh mint and some crisp green apple that is all tied together with a vinaigrette of spring onions and toasted caraway seeds; the unsung hero of peas.


As I've stated before I grew up in a Louisville, Kentucky suburb, and last weekend was our big day, The Kentucky Derby.

Even though I didn't offer the staple Derby drink, the mint julep last week, I knew first-hand that it isn't the only time of the year that we drink a julep. TRUST ME!!!

So, in celebration of the "Run for the Roses" and in honor of my geographical heritage  I wanted to offer a slant on the mint julep that I like to call the Georgian Mint Julep: freshly muddled mint topped with bourbon, peach schnapps and topped with a splash of club soda. A spring cocktail that begs for better weather...

With Love,


No comments:

Post a Comment