Friday, May 31, 2013

Pea sformato

Look away if you don't like peas... you know who you are! This savory pea custard (or Italian pea sformato) brings out the full essence of the humble spring veggie. This is a riff on Mario Batali's recipe, which uses just eggs, cream and milk, and a good amount of mint. Around the sformato I added a broken vinaigrette of olive oil and champagne vinegar, along with some crushed peas, then I tumbled on some pancetta crumbles for a bit of crunch and saltiness. Great light lunch or starter, and good to the last pea.

Pea sformato with peas and pancetta
3/4 lb. previously frozen peas
3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup ricotta cheese 
1/4 grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
3 sprigs of mint, chopped finely
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper

1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

5 sprigs or fresh mint
1/4 cup sweet peas, quickly steamed or warmed if frozen
6 slices crispy fried pancetta, crumbled
sprigs of pea shoots for garnish, if you have it 

For the sformato—In a food processor, blend together the peas, eggs, cream, ricotta and parm. cheeses, chipped mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth. Grease the bottom and sides of 6 ramekins. Distribute the pea batter equally into each ramekin, and place them into a deep sided casserole type pan. Emerge this pan into a bain-marie (water bath) to help steam the sformato while it bakes. Put pans into preheated 350° oven for 20 minutes or until done. Remove and let them cool a bit.

For the dressing—Whisk together the honey, champagne vinegar, and olive oil, salt and pepper (or shake vigorously in a lidded jar). You can emulsify or lave as a broken dressing.

For the dressing—Spoon some dressing around the plate. Run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekins and invert each gorgeous green sformato onto a serving plate. Srtinkle a dozen or so peas onto each plate, crumble over some of that yummy pancetta., and for one last fabulous touch... Add chiffonades of fresh mint. The combo of salty, sweet and creamy is divine. 

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