Sweet Pea Spread

Nothing says Spring like sweet peas. The bright green hue mimics the color of the young blades of grass, flower stems and tree buds that are popping up all around. The flavor, clean and fresh, signals the end of braises and stews–we are officially coming out from hibernation.

I have been making this Sweet Pea Spread for several years now. It was brought to a happy hour by a friend of mine and was love at first taste for me. I cannot count the number of times I’ve made it since, as it’s a recipe that I crave and always have the ingredients for on hand. On numerous occasions, I’ve tweaked it a bit by adding the herb and Parmesan garnishes to the puree to create a dip as opposed to the original crostini. I find that the dip is more versatile while the crostini makes for a more elegant presentation. With the crostini, I have taken liberties with the garnishes as you will see in the recipe note below.

Feel free to try the Sweet Pea Spread as either a dip for crackers or spread on toasted bread. Or better yet, try it both ways and let me know which you prefer. As you would suspect, this spread goes great with a glass of crisp white wine and very good friends. 

Sweet Pea Spread

Sweet Pea Spread

 

Sweet Pea Spread
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbls olive oil
  2. 1 small yellow onion, diced
  3. 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  4. 1-32 oz bag frozen peas
  5. 1/4 c white wine
  6. 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  7. freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1/2 cup fresh basil or mint leaves
  9. 1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  10. 1 baguette, cut into 1/2" rounds, brushed with olive oil and lightly toasted or grilled
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes, and sauté until the onion is translucent but not yet brown, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and white wine and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring the peas around so all of them defrost, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and stir to combine.
  4. When the mixture is heated through, transfer it all to a blender or food processor. Blend until the peas are about the consistency of hummus, adding water if the puree is too thick to process.
  5. Taste for salt and more if you prefer (I add about 1 tsp more).
  6. Add some freshly ground black pepper. Process until blended.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. If serving as a dip, add basil or mint leaves and grated Parmesan to the puree and process until incorporated. Scoop dip into a bowl and serve with slices of toasted bread.
  9. If serving as crostini, scoop 1 Tbls of the pea mixture onto each toasted baguette round and garnish with the chopped basil or mint and grated Parmesan cheese.
Notes
  1. Completely optional but if serving as crostini, you may top each piece with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt, a drizzle of very good olive oil and a couple of shakes of Aleppo pepper, in addition to the shredded herbs and Parmesan cheese.
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