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Peas on toast with lemon, mint and mozzarella reviewed





When I was first told that Lincolnshire’s pea farmers want to muscle in on the ‘on toast’ market I was a little skeptical.

This was surely a world sewn up by baked beans and avocados.

But I was curious as to this new suggestion. It’s cheaper to buy peas than avocado, they’re also more reliably ripe when you want them and then there’s the sustainability and food miles to consider. Half of the nation’s crop of peas is grown in Lincolnshire – most avocados are grown in Mexico.

Nic Irwin, inset, and her version of peas on toast.
Nic Irwin, inset, and her version of peas on toast.

I willingly volunteered to give peas on toast a go, and opted for a recipe I found on Great British Chefs. It was originally published in 2015 so maybe this muscling in is a slow burn.

The version I opted for was a seemingly spring dish which mixed the peas with mint (classic flavour combo), lemon, garlic and mozzarella. It might not have quite aligned with the seasons, but it ticked a lot of boxes for me.

Certainly if I had seen that choice on a menu I would have gone for it. And peas on toast is making it on to menus at cafes in London – and after I tasted this dish, I think we’ll see it cropping up elsewhere too.

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It was simple enough to make and I was blessed with a well stocked kitchen and having to hand a pestle and mortar. If anything I could have done with a slightly bigger one.

Gathering ingredients to help transform peas into a main dish.
Gathering ingredients to help transform peas into a main dish.

As someone who likes to throw caution to the wind when cooking I welcomed instructions like a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt, but one and a half sprigs of mint had me using a bit too much.

Roughly speaking, you mix garlic, the zest of half of lemon, those mint sprigs, with salt and olive oil. Then set about adding the peas and crush them a bit. You’re not aiming for mushy peas.

Already by this time I was licking my lips.

Mint, lemon zest, salt and olive oil are mixed together to start with.
Mint, lemon zest, salt and olive oil are mixed together to start with.

Then you rip up your mozzarella and add that in to. One ball of mozzarella, as the recipe called for, felt too much by the time I’d torn it up so I opted for three-quarters. Then squeeze over some lemon juice and add a bit more salt if you want.

I served it on sourdough, bought at the weekend from Belvoir Bakery at Grantham market, and lightly toasted.

Peas on toast with mozzarella, lemon, mint and garlic on sourdough toast.
Peas on toast with mozzarella, lemon, mint and garlic on sourdough toast.

It made enough for me to offer my husband a round too. “What are we having?” he asked, as I suggested we could have lunch together – an unusual occurrence even when we both work from home.

“Peas. On. Toast” I announced grandly.

His look was one of some surprise, but he happily went along.

“It’s really nice. I’d have it again,” he told me, opting to pick it up with his fingers while I went for the knife and fork approach.

Peas on toast with mozzarella, lemon, mint and garlic on sourdough toast.
Peas on toast with mozzarella, lemon, mint and garlic on sourdough toast.

He also made the smart point that our daughter – a fan of peas, cheese and toast – would surely enjoy it too if I could just work out the right amount of mint.

As for me, I’m absolutely sold. I hope to find another recipe that is maybe a little more suited to December, a dash of cranberry perhaps, some chopped nuts? Come spring I’ll be serving this up again.



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