Side Dish Sunday is the perfect way to ease your way into eating healthier. We all can’t go cold turkey. Some of us need a little hand-holding and daily encouragement. If you resolved to eat healthier or test your principles with being a vegetarian, start by adding vegetarian or plant-based side dishes to your meals. Spend Sunday afternoons testing new flavors and ingredients. Invite friends and family over to share in the experience. Make it fun. Try something new. The more you play around with new recipes, the easier it will be to go the distance and embrace being a vegetarian. Who says you have to go to a fancy restaurant for an incredible culinary experience? For those of you who have already adopted the vegetarian lifestyle, Bon Appétit!
Today’s recipe is provided by April Bloomfield. As a girl in England, she always loved mushy peas, whether they were made the real way—from a starchy variety of pea called marrowfat that’s dried, then soaked—or dumped into a pot straight from a tin. Nowadays she prefers this mash made from fresh, sweet shelling peas—a twist on the British classic, which actually takes less work to make than its inspiration. It’s wonderful spread in a thick layer on warm bread or as a dip for raw veg, like radishes, carrots, and wedges of fennel.
April is Executive chef/co-owner of the New York restaurants The Spotted Pig, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar, Salvation Taco and San Francisco’s Tosca Café. A native of Birmingham, England, April began her culinary studies at Birmingham College. From there, she went on to hone her craft through cook positions in various kitchens throughout London and Northern Ireland. She went on to work with Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray at The River Café and then to Berkeley, California, where she worked at the legendary Chez Panisse. Her New York restaurants have earned Michelin Guide stars and she was honored as a Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” in 2007, and in May 2014, she received the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: New York City.” She lives in New York City.
From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Crushed Spring Peas with Mint
- 2 cups fresh peas (from about 2 pounds pods)
- 1 ounce aged pecorino, finely grated
- 1½ teaspoons Maldon or another flaky sea salt
- 1 small spring garlic clove or ½ small garlic clove, smashed, peeled, and roughly chopped
- 12 medium mint leaves (preferably black mint)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Scant 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more for finishing
- Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a coar e puree, about 45 seconds.
- Scrape the mixture into a bowl and roughly stir and smoosh a bit so it’s a little creamy and a little chunky.
- Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice—you want it to taste sweet and bright but not acidic.
Simplicity expert, A.Michelle Blakeley is The Vegetarian Aficionado™ – a purveyor of provocative and beautifully prepared vegetarian fare. Connect with her on Instagram at @vegetarianaficionado and check out her online magazine The Vegetarian Aficionado