At Berta, we use a lot of buttermilk and whey in various preparations; these by-products from making cheese and butter are very tasty and have a nice tang to them. It also makes me happy when I get to use the whole of a product and have no waste left over. I love the flavour of chargrilled lettuce and the smokiness of it goes really well with the sweetness of the peas and the slightly sour flavour of the buttermilk dressing. This recipe serves 4 as a side dish.
- 200 g podded peas
- 100 ml pouring cream
- 25 ml olive oil
- 10 ml cider vinegar
- 3 small heads baby cos lettuce
- 3 spring onions, green bits sliced very finely on an angle
- ½ cup mint
- river salt and black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the peas until they are nicely cooked, cool in a bowl of iced water, drain and set aside.
Place the cream in a jar with a lid, making sure the cream only takes up about half the space. Agitate in a very vigorous manner. After about 2 minutes you’ll find that the cream becomes whipped and you won’t feel it sloshing around. Continue to shake vigorously. After another 2 minutes or so you will find, to your surprise, that the cream has separated and you are left with butter and buttermilk. Clever.
Strain the liquid through a fine strainer and set the butter aside.
Make the dressing by adding a little salt to the buttermilk, then add the oil and the vinegar. Use a fork to give it a quick whisk. Set aside.
Preheat a chargrill on high. Cut the baby cos in half down the middle, making sure the stalk is still attached. Drizzle with a little oil, season and place face-down on the chargrill for 1-2 minutes. You want a nice colour and char flavour before turning over. Cook for another minute then remove and place on a serving plate.
Meanwhile, use the butter you just made to warm the peas in a separate pot. Once they are just warmed, turn out into a mixing bowl, add the onion and a little seasoning.
Once you are ready to serve, roughly tear the mint leaves and briefly stir them through the pea mix. Spoon this mix over the lettuce and then pour the dressing over the top.
A drizzle of olive oil and a turn of black pepper and you are ready to serve.
• If you get excited about making your own butter and using the buttermilk then you can do it in bigger batches using a paddle attachment on a mixer. When you are straining use some muslin cloth doubled over so you can squeeze out any excess liquid from your butter. This is important as it means you can keep the butter longer without it going rancid.
Photography by Benito Martin
Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd
Slab and Slub platter from Small Spaces