For a while there, I was utterly obsessed with Mario Batali's Babbo cookbook. It still remains one of my favorites to peruse when I need a jolt of inspiration. The composition and coloring of the photographs, along with the simplicity and authenticity of the recipes, truly makes this a prized cookbook in my collection. The following recipe is inspired by Batali's Sweet Pea Flan.
So I know this is like the complete antithesis of a fall dish. But sometimes you got to just say "to hell with seasonal!" and simply cook with the ingredients that you want. Alice Waters would probably be plotting my death if she ever heard that, but whatever, I cook with what inspires me, be it seasonal or not. Plus, this dish is just so pretty, and really honest-to-God mouth watering.
The pea shoots were a little gift from my father, who picked them up for me at the asian market. A little tip for picking out fresh pea shoots: look for crisp, green, and tender ones. The smaller the better, and pay attention to the tendrils- look for a clean, delicate curl. This recipe calls for carrot juice. I juice my own carrots, which I highly recommend, but if you don't have a juicer, get a bottle of Fresh Samantha's or Odwalla from the store. Lastly, I use a steamer to make the puddings, but a bain-marie (a water bath in the oven) would equally work.
Yes, fall flavors rock, but a little "spring break" can put a huge grin on my face too.
Sweet Pea Pudding with Pea Shoot Salad
3/4 lb. frozen or fresh sweet peas
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
2 cups packed fresh pea shoots
1/4 cup sweet peas
3/4 cup carrot juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1. For the puddings: In a food processor, blend together the peas and eggs until smooth. Spoon into a mixing bowl, and whisk in heavy cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of 6 ramekins. Pour equal amounts of pea mixture into each and steam in a large steamer, on medium-high heat, for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
3. For salad: Rinse and dry the pea shoots, and set aside with the 1/4 cup of peas. Whisk together carrot juice, honey, vinegar, and olive oil. Pour over the shoots and lightly toss.
4. To serve: Run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekins. Invert onto a serving plate. Add a mound of salad on top of each pudding. Drizzle with any remaining reserved dressing and olive oil around the plate.