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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peas, mint and pasta

Tis the season!  Summer is in full force and gardeners everywhere are finally harvesting the fruits of their labors.  One of my favorite gems of the season are the bright green sweet peas.  Hot or cold fresh sweet peas just say “summer is here, enjoy it!”

The pairing of peas and mint is a classic on par with red wines and chocolate.  We wanted to extract those flavors in an inventive and delicious new way.  Our direction led us to pasta, fresh made, rolled thin and cut wide.  The end result of all this testing was a perfect summation of the season, light, vibrantly colored, and full of the sweet flavors of summer.

To backtrack, making pasta is one of my favorite activities.  A full sensory immersion, from the sound of the rollers to the touch of the dough as it is stretched and thinned; it’s my form of meditation only with a tasty end result. 

Our summertime pea pasta starts off with a puree of sweet peas, mint, garlic, lemon zest, black pepper and olive oil.  The color looked almost counterfeit it was so bright green and the flavor was incredibly intense.  Mixed with flour and an egg the dough was created, waiting for its time to be rolled and cut.  This pasta was a bright green, with an incredible texture and aroma, it would be perfect as is, or finished with a little lemon oil and fresh grated Parmesan 

Turning this pasta in a main course dish, we tossed the hot pasta right out of the pot with a little grated Parmesan for a slightly cheesy bite.  We paired this with poached salmon filed cooked in seasoned water with lemons, green onions and garlic.  Topped with a toasted pistachio, cracked black pepper and lemon olive oil and a dollop of crème fraiche this dish hits every note flawlessly.  The intensity of the mint and sweetness of the pea is not lost during cooking, while the light coating of Parmesan adds a body and substance to the delicate pasta.  The pistachios and black pepper provide a perfect foil for the smooth textures of the salmon and pasta with the crème fraiche creating a soft sauce for it all. 

Now this is not the end of this recipes tale, not by far.  Take the same pea and mint base and add some parmesan and toss that with hot penne and top with grilled chicken and the pepper/pistachio oil for a perfect lunchtime buffet.

In the height of the summer pasta may not seem like the best “course”, but using the flavors of the summer at their best you can make a truly memorable and extraordinary dish.

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