A minted pea purée on your plate is like a breath of spring, no matter what time of year you make it. The vibrant green color and the scent of the fresh mint make this a great accompaniment to many dishes.
Do not mistake pea purée for mushy peas. This recipe is made using fresh or frozen garden peas and fresh mint which are cooked quickly and mashed or puréed. Whereas, mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas that undergo a long, slow cook with bicarbonate of soda to make the peas swell and burst into a "mush."
Pea purée is a delicious side dish to serve with almost all meat and fish dishes. It is particularly lovely with oily fish such as smoked mackerel fishcakes. For a vegetarian alternative, try the purée spread on toast.
- 2 cups/600 ml water
- 10 1/4 ounces/300 g garden peas (fresh or frozen, see note)
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: 1 tablespoon butter
- Optional: fresh mint leaves (chopped)
Place the water into a large pan and bring to a boil. Add the peas, salt, and mint and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain the peas and using an immersion blender, quickly purée the peas and mint to create a smooth paste. If you don't have an immersion blender, use a food processor instead or simply mash the peas with a fork.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
You can use the peas in rough purée form but if you want a very fine, smooth purée, push the mixture through a fine sieve.
Stir in the optional butter and chopped mint leaves until all the butter has melted and is incorporated into the purée.
Serve minted pea purée warm alongside your favorite meat or fish dish.
Note: The pea purée will freeze well but use within one month.
Which Peas to Use
The season for fresh peas is short in Britain and Ireland (typically from May to October) so make the most of them while you can even though they take a little longer because they need to be shelled.
Outside the season, use frozen peas as they also make a lovely purée and are so much quicker to use.
For added flavor, cook the peas in vegetable or chicken stock rather than plain water.
Experiment with other herbs, not just mint, although this is, of course, the classic. Tarragon or winter savory also work well.