Celebrate the British pea harvest

Last year’s dreadful, wet summer meant the UK pea harvest was a bit of a washout. Thank goodness this year is looking a lot better, so I thought it would be good to celebrate with some delicious recipes for a hot summer’s day. Boy are we having some of those at the moment!

Did you know that we eat 150 million kilogrammes of frozen peas a year in the UK? That’s a lot of peas. Well, I do find it extremely handy to have a bag of these versatile vegetables in the freezer at all times.

Pea, Spicy Chorizo and Potato Tortilla with Tomato Salsa

Pea, Spicy Chorizo and Potato Tortilla4

Serves 4-6

Waxy potatoes, like Desiree

6 tbsp rapeseed oil

120g of chorizo, diced into small pieces

1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced

8 eggs, beaten

200g of frozen peas, blanched

Sea salt and black pepper

Tomato salsa

4 vine tomatoes, deseeded and diced

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

 Peel the potatoes, slice them into thin rounds and place them in a clean tea towel. Rub  to get the slices as dry as possible. Heat 4 tablespoons of the rapeseed oil, in a non stick frying pan. Add the chorizo and onion and fry gently to release the oils from the chorizo. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the potato slices and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Turn the heat down, cover the pan with a lid and let the mixture cook slowly for 20 minutes, shaking the pan well from time to time. The mixture is not supposed to be brown, but gently stew in the oil.

Meanwhile whisk the eggs lightly in a large bowl, do not over beat them, and season with sea salt and black pepper and add the peas. When the potato mixture is cooked, quickly transfer them to the eggs in the bowl. Put the pan back on the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and turn the heat to medium. Mix the potato and egg mixture well before pouring it all back into the pan and turn the heat to its lowest setting, this will take 20 minutes to cook. Every now and then draw the edge in gently with a pallet knife. When the mixture is almost set on the top of the tortilla, remove from the heat and place a plate over the pan and invert both, so that the tortilla is on the plate.

Ease the tortilla back into the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave for a few minutes in the pan to set. Turn the tortilla out of the pan onto a wooden board or plate and serve hot or cold. Cut into wedges and serve with the tomato salsa.

To make to tomato salsa, mix all of the tomato salsa ingredients together, stir lightly and season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Roasted Pea and Aubergine Dip with Toasted Pitta Bread

Aubergine Dip

Serves 6-8

2 aubergines

350g frozen peas

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

A handful of fresh mint leaves

½ red chili, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tsp of ground cumin

A good pinch of ground coriander

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp of plain Greek yoghurt

Sea salt and black pepper

6 pitta breads, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6

Place the aubergines on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Cool and cut in half; scoop out the flesh and place in a blender.

Meanwhile cook the peas in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, until tender, drain and refresh under cold water, drain well again, making sure all the excess water has been removed. Then place the rapeseed oil, garlic, mint leaves and peas into the food processor, along with the aubergine, and blend to a thick puree. Add the yoghurt and blend again, until the yoghurt is just combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the chili, cumin, coriander and lemon juice and season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Spoon the mixture into a bowl, toast the pitta breads and cut into fingers and serve warm with the dip – delicious!

This dip is also great with sticks of carrot, peppers, baby tomatoes, celery and nachos.

Look out for more great pea recipes at http://www.peas.org

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