Peas Please! (Raw Pea and Herb Pate with Grilled Bread)

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Spring is finally here and the farmer's markets stalls are overflowing with all the deliciousness that is Spring's bounty. One of my favorites is seeing all the fresh young peas, in their glistening green pods, as well shelled in the large plastic bins. Maybe it is the small child in me yearning for the days long ago jumping in a sea of plastic balls at birthday parties but all I want to do is dive in. Instead, I settle for a small bag of shelled peas, grab some fresh mint and I know I am onto something delicious. The market was on Saturday but today I opened the refrigerator and my pretty peas were looking back at me begging me to finally do something. A raw pea and herb pate on grilled bread was my response. 

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I love peas not only for their B vitamins, good protein content the array of minerals (including phosporous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron) but because they are incredibly versatile. They add a sweet pop to just about any dish and a creaminess to other dishes, whether cooked or raw. They can be eaten all alone or pair exceptionally well with fresh spring herbs, citrus, nuts and cheese. This recipe uses raw, fresh shelled peas, fresh mint, cashew nuts, garlic, salt and lemon. Grilled slices of thick crusty bread serve as the perfect canvas for this spread. You can lay a thin (or thick) layer of fresh goat cheese or a nice raw sheep's milk feta on your grilled bread first and then top with the puree, drizzle with some quality extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a dash of fresh cracked black pepper. Alternatively, layer the pea puree on your grilled bread and then top with shaved cheese ( like a parmigiano reggiano) and then drizzle with your oil and seasoning. Or, make this vegan and omit the cheese altogether. A sprinkle of nutritional yeast will add a cheese-like bite and healthy B vitamins! A don't fret if you are off the bread, this recipe is equally delicious with fresh cut veggies or rolled up in a crisp piece of fresh lettuce. 

Fresh Pea and Mint Pate with Grilled Bread

1 C Fresh shelled peas

1/2 C Raw cashew pieces

8 Sprigs, Fresh Mint

1 Garlic clove (peeled)

1 Lemon (juiced)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more to drizzle on top)

1 tsp Sea salt (plus more to sprinkle on top, to taste if necessary)

Black pepper, to taste

1 French baguette or sourdough loaf ( plus olive oil for grilling)  

How to: Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse into your desired consistency is reached. You can make it very smooth and paste like or thick and coarse. Simply slice the bread at an angle and grill on a lightly oiled grill pan (or outdoor grill). Top your grilled bread with the pea pate and dress it up as you please. A simple and delicious way is a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Enjoy!