I often regard Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson as my culinary parents when I am cooking and writing about food.
And every time I see Nigella refer to herself as the ‘Queen of the Frozen Pea’, anointed to her by Slater himself, I am filled with joy.
But surely there has to be room for a Prince in this frozen castle?
The Frozen Pea is a home cook’s saving grave. Nestled away among the igloos of stew and tubs of ice cream, the bag of feistly coloured sweet green peas can provide much welcomed solace in the Kitchens of the busy.
I have mapped out four examples in this blog post of when the frozen pea has saved my life and while I may not yet be worthy of a throne in the frozen monarchy alongside Ms. Lawson, I can still live my own personal fantasy as the Prince of the Frozen Pea until otherwise challenged.
Pea & Blue Cheese Soup
Possibly the easiest of the armory and inspired by Nigella’s Pea Soup… or ‘Slime Soup’ as she referred to it.
When you get home from work, just throw 3 cups of frozen peas in some boiling water.
Throw in two crushed garlic cloves and two spring onions whole. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Throw some arse ends of blue cheese in a blender with some salt and pepper. Remove a cup of the pea water (pea water… I heard it when you did!) and throw into the blender. Drain the peas (binning the spring onion and garlic) and toss them into the blender.
Blitz to a soupy pulp and serve with some chopped chives.
Pea, Mint & Feta Bruschetta
A really useful recipe to have on-file when you have guests.
Put two cups of frozen peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit for 4/5 minutes. Drain and throw into a food processor.
Add some salt, pepper, a little olive oil and some fresh mint. Blitz everything to a chunky, spreadable puree.
Toast your chosen bread (you could go little disks from a baguette like the picture or go full on with just toast!). Spread the puree over the bread, crumble over some feta and some pistachios, if you’re feeling dead fancy.
Named after the Wizard of Oz and it’s Emerald City because in my juvenile imagination, this is how all of their food looks.
Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and throw in some asparagus and cup of frozen peas and boil for 4 minutes. After this time, throw in some sugar snap peas and cook for a further 2/3 three minutes.
Put some designer salad leaves (from a pillow bag) on to a plate. Drain the green veg and run the cold tap over them to stop them cooking further. Arrange them amongst the leaves and sprinkle over some fresh mint.
You could just drizzle with a little extra virgin oil and salt and eat as is, but if you want the Avocado Lime Dressing in the video, just combine some avocado, lime juice, salt and a little extra virgin olive oil in a blender, adding a tablespoon of water at a time until you get your desired consistency.
Pea & Lemon Supergrain Risotto
I hate the term supergrain, but that’s what was on the packet so there we are. You could easily do this with risotto rice though, just saying!
Put three cups of frozen peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit for 4 minutes. Drain the peas, put a handful to one side and throw the rest into a blender with some lemon juice and a drop of olive oil. Blitz to a puree and leave to one side.
Put a mint tea bag in a big jug (you read correctly… a simple herbal mint tea bag) and pour in about a litre of boiling water and add some salt. This will act as your stock, providing a minty spike to every glug!
Finely slice up an onion (or a shallot ideally) and melt a little butter in a big pan. Throw the onion into the melted butter and cook the onion with some salt until it starts to turn translucent.
Grate over the zest of one big lemon before adding in a cup of supergrains (or risotto rice – would be morre than fine). Cook the grains in the lemony onions for a few minutes until the grains take on the glossy flavours. Now squeeze in the juice of the lemon, and the juice of one more lemon, and stir everything until the grains absorb the lemon juices.
Now start pouring the mint stock in slowly, stirring the grains as you go. Don’t pour in another glug of mint tea until the grains have absorbed the last glug. Keep going until the grains have drunk the whole litre of mint tea.
Now stir in the reserved pea and lemon puree from earlier. Stir until everything is combined. You’ll know it’s ready when you can drag your spoon through the grains and it leaves a spoon-wide empty line through the grains and they don’t fall back into each other (I call it a Moses Tide).
Serve with some sprinkled feta, a further grating of lemon zest (from the second lemon) and the handful of peas you reserved from earlier.