Friday, September 30, 2011
Quiche Recipe with Fresh Peas
Our veggie garden is in prolific spring mode – for a few weeks we have fresh peas in gluttonous abundance, it’s all or nothing, famine or feast; when it comes to petits pois, there is no such thing as moderation. Now the broad beans are all demanding to be picked too, the strawberries are revving up and picking becomes a regular duty rather than an occasional pleasure. ...
But this wonderful excess of fresh stuff, frees you up to experiment with new recipes. Usually peas are just a side dish in our house, quickly boiled with a few leaves of mint, to go alongside a roast chicken. Making quiches for our spring festival I decided it was time for the peas to star in their own show. I rifled through my Marcella Hazan recipe book (The Classic Italian Cook Book (The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating)) for an Italian take on peas and found just what I was looking for – a recipe for peas cooked in olive oil with a little garlic and prosciutto. I tweaked a little adding onion for more bulk and sweetness, leaving out the ham, (though it would be a good addition to my final recipe – I just didn’t have any and was wanting it to be vegetarian) and adding a sprinkling of fresh chopped mint for spring life and zest.
The result was just what I was after – sweet, tender and meltingly spring flavoured. As Marcella Hazan says, you want just the sweet, tender peas, so leave out any that have gone too far and got that slightly bitter starchiness.
When I was podding peas with the girls, I was appointed official tester and had to taste one pea from every pod that was doubtfully fat and overstretched. I now can tell almost just by looking at the pod whether they are still sweet or gone to starch – a useful skill if I ever need a job in a pea sorting factory! The quiche can be made with frozen peas too, just cook them for less time and don’t add any water as they cook.
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
300g fresh peas, shelled weight
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
A sprig of mint
250ml / 1 cup cream
Shortcrust pastry to line a 23cm round dish or tin
Chop the onion and garlic finely. Cook them in the oil over a medium heat until they are soft and translucent, but not coloured.
Add the peas and the chopped parsley and stir to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover the pot and cook over a medium heat until the peas are tender. This can be anything from 5-15 minutes depending on the peas. If you use frozen peas, leave out the water and cook for about 5 minutes. Leave to cool a little while you prepare the pastry.
Line the dish with pastry. Blind bake for ten minutes at 190C.
While it is baking, beat the cream and eggs together and season with salt and pepper.
Tip the pea filling into the pastry case, sprinkling with torn mint leaves then pour the egg and cream mix over the top.
Bake at 190C for 40-45 minutes until set and golden.
The quiche went beautifully with a simple salad of tomatoes and steamed broad beans dressed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.