For one brief, glorious day it felt like spring was finally here. Winter coats were shed, sun was pouring through the window, and I was reaching for a classic spring combination: pea, mint and lemon. Nothing food wise signifies the beginning of spring quite like fresh mint, bright zesty lemon and sweet, sweet peas. Any chance to slather cheese on to bread and then pile it high with flavour and I am there.
This recipe require minimal effort. As long as you can grill bread, toss peas together and spread goats cheese on bread – you’re good to go.
Give me something I can hold while gesturing wildly and clasping a glass of wine in my other hand. Something that looks better the messier it’s presented. Give me a crowd pleaser and a solo pleaser. Bring the wine and pour us both a glass. I’ll provide tales of embarrassment and these bite-size treats. Hopefully the sun will shine and spring will finally stay with us.
Ingredients – makes 8 bruschettas
Half a french baguette, sliced into 1cm pieces
150 grams soft goats cheese, small amount reserved for garnishing
1 tablespoon of milk (or water if preferred)
Zest of one lemon, juice of half a lemon
200 grams frozen peas
10 mint leaves, finely shredded
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of salt
1. Throw open the windows and blast out ‘Two Weeks’ by Grizzly Bear.
2. Start by making the whipped goats cheese. Place the goats cheese, with a little reserved separately, in a large bowl and add the milk, generous pinch of pepper and half the lemon zest. Whip all together till light and smooth. Place in the fridge to chill.
3. Place a griddle pan on a medium heat and leave to heat up. Once the pan is hot, place the sliced bread in a single layer and leave till nicely griddled on one side. Once toasted on one side, flip over and cook on the other side.
4. While the bread is cooking place the peas in a small pan and pour over a kettle of boiling water to cover the peas. Turn on the heat and simmer for 3 minutes until the peas are hot but not too soft. Drain the peas.
5. Place the drained peas in a pestle and mortar, or a processor, add the remaining lemon zest, the lemon juice, chopped mint, generous pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt. Bash the ingredients to release all the flavours but not till a paste is created – you still want some texture left.
6. Place the bread on a board with the bowl of goats cheese and the mortar of pea mix. If you don’t have a mortar just put the mixture into a small serving dish. Let people help them selves by spreading a slice of toast with a thick layer of cheese and piling high the pea mixture on top. Sprinkle each slice with a little reserved goats cheese and some fresh lemon zest.