Saturday 26 May 2018

Recipes: Rachel Allen makes a wonderful summer dish

Fresh or frozen, peas make a wonderful summer dish, says Rachel Allen, and combine wonderfully with bacon, grilled fish or chorizo

Peas are, perhaps, the perfect summer vegetable, gleaming green and divinely sweet. I love the quiet, methodical work of podding fresh peas into a bowl, with almost as many going straight in my mouth. Peas are just as good when they are cooked from frozen, as freezing them does a brilliant job of locking in their sugars.

Simply boiled for a minute or two in salted water, peas sometimes need little more than a knob of butter. I like to serve peas as an accompaniment to fish, lamb and especially pork.

Peas' sweetness contrasts perfectly with salty bacon and, in this side-dish recipe of peas with bacon and almonds, it works well with the crunch of flaked almonds and the aniseed notes of tarragon.

This pea guacamole replaces avocados with peas for what is, essentially, a boldly flavoured pea puree. I like to serve this with grilled fish such as tuna, or on toasts as a canape, or even as a great dip for tortilla chips.

This oven-baked risotto uses another pork and peas combination with the gentle smoked-paprika spice of chorizo.

Peas with bacon and almonds

You will need:

500g (18oz) peas (fresh or frozen)

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g (3 1/2oz) bacon, cut into roughly 2cm (3/4in) lardons

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

75g (3oz) flaked almonds

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon or mint, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a large saucepan of salted water on a high heat and bring it to the boil. Add the peas and cook them for about 3 minutes. Then drain them and set them aside.

Put the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the lardons of bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until they are crisp and golden, then remove from the pan, leaving the oil behind.

Add the finely chopped onion and the flaked almonds to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until the onion is soft and slightly coloured.

Next, add in the cooked bacon lardons, the cooked peas and the butter. Stir together until everything is warm and the butter has melted, then remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped fresh tarragon or mint, whichever you are using, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pea guacamole

450g (16oz) peas (fresh or frozen)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

1/2-1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Good pinch of salt

Cook the peas in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Refresh them under cold water and drain them. Place the cooked peas in a food processor along with the extra-virgin olive oil, the freshly squeezed lime juice, the finely chopped coriander, the deseeded and finely chopped fresh chilli, the freshly ground cumin, the ground coriander and the salt. Whizz for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is almost smooth. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary, then put into a bowl and cover until needed.

Oven-baked risotto with chorizo and peas

Serves 6.

You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

200g (7oz) chorizo, sliced or diced

1 onion, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

350g (12oz) risotto rice

150ml (5fl oz) white wine

750ml (1 1/4pt) chicken stock

225g (8oz) peas (fresh or frozen)

110g (4oz) finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F, Gas 4.

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof saucepan, add the sliced or diced chorizo and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the oils have been released from the chorizo.

Add the finely chopped onion, season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover with a lid and sweat over a gentle heat until soft -- about 10 minutes.

Add the risotto rice and stir it around in the saucepan for a minute, then add the white wine. Stir, bring it up to the boil and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes until the wine has almost reduced. Add the chicken stock, bring up to the boil again, cover with the lid and place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Check it halfway through cooking -- if it looks too dry, add a little more hot stock.

When the rice is just cooked, remove it from the oven and add the peas. Cook on the hob for two more minutes until the peas are cooked. Add the finely grated Parmesan cheese and the chopped fresh parsley and stir well until mixed.

Season to taste and serve the risotto in warm bowls or plates.


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