May 7, 2010

Bruschetta with Smashed Peas and Pecorino

How many of you are swept up by the Masterchef craze and following each episode to the T? I know I am! After watching how simple it was for Gary to make "Bruschetta with Favetta and Pecorino" during one of the show's Masterclasses, I decided to test out his recipe at home. Favetta is basically mashed broad beans, and as broad beans are not in season yet, I used fresh peas instead - just as tasty, and if not, better! Gary pounds a clove of garlic with salt before adding in the beans, a step that I omitted because I found that rubbing a clove onto the grilled sourdough gives plenty of garlic flavour. The mixture was left to be more refreshing and pleasant tasting.

Serves 4:
- 4 slices sourdough bread
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Sea salt
- 200g fresh peas (about 430g-450g, unpodded)
- 50g pecorino, finely grated, and extra for garnish (or parmesan, if you like)
- ½ lemon, zest finely grated
- 1 garlic clove

For those of you that haven't eaten fresh peas before, you must try it now! They are absolutely delicious with a beautiful, crisp taste. Don't get me wrong, frozen peas are still vibrant and flavoursome, but they really don't compare to fresh peas right out of the pod. When selecting fresh green peas, look for pods that are firm and plump, with a bright green colour and a fresh appearance.


Once you have stripped the peas from their pods, add to a mortar with a pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, the pecorino and lemon zest, and pound with a pestle to a paste. Add a little more olive oil to bring it together. My mortar was too small to fit everything inside, so I just pounded the mixture in batches and combined everything together at the end in a large bowl.

Heat a char-grill pan (or frying pan if you don't have one) over medium-high heat. Drizzle one side of the bread slices with oil and place them oil-side down onto the pan. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently press down on the slices to help them char with grill marks. Drizzle the upturned side of bread with oil, and after 2-3 minutes, flip it over and gently press down on it again. After another 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat and rub one side of the tosted sourdough slices with the garlic clove.

To serve, top the toasted sourdough slices with the pea mixture, and grate over some pecorino.

 Bruschetta with Smashed Peas and Pecorino

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