Spring is a celebration in the kitchen. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound during these awakening months. It is the season of mild flavours, gentle colours and calm, uncomplicated cooking and with this in mind, the perfect time to explore the new season’s vegetables – the young spinach, rhubarb, spring onions and cabbage – to name a few. Green peas are one of spring’s finest fleeting pleasures, remarkably sweet and so crisp they snap when you bite. They lend an unmistakable starchy, grassy sweetness to any dish – a far cry from the frozen, shrivelled pellets we turn to for winter stews.
With a faint pea flavour, pea shoots are a notable favourite of mine. They make a lovely addition to salads, stir-fries and soups. Now readily available at supermarkets, you can also look out for them at farm stands or Asian markets, but get them while you can – the flavour turns bitter at the end of the growing season.
So make sure you leave plenty of room for these nutritional powerhouses. Out with the heavy fall and winter fare and in with springtime fruits and veggies.
Spring pea, edamame bean and ricotta on sourdough with pea shoots
Simple and quick to make, this makes a lovely weekend brunch or light lunch dish
2 slices of rye sourdough, or similar
25g fresh garden peas, or frozen
25g edamame beans
2-3 heaped tbsps ricotta
a handful of pea shoots
a few pumpkin seeds, toasted
1. Toast or griddle the sourdough slices. Allow to cool slightly whilst you cook the peas and edamame beans (as per packet instructions). Drain and lightly crush the peas and beans with a back of a fork.
2. To serve, spread the ricotta on the toast, then divide the peas, beans, pea shoots and pumpkin seeds on top. Season with some salt and freshly ground pepper.
To add a bit more pep, add a sprinkling of chopped red chilli and/or some basil pesto.
Recipe, photography & styling: Natalie Seldon