Peas, and frozen ones too, are compelling protagonists in family cooking. Inexpensive, accessible and requiring minimal preparation, it doesn’t hurt to keep one or two – or three! – bags in your freezer for every occasion. These smashed peas are a fine example of how satisfying and flavourful everyday ingredients can be; in this salad, they bring an exciting green creaminess to the vegetables and grains. The smashed peas can also be used as a chunky pasta sauce, especially when served with a small pasta shape such as orecchiette.
These smashed peas are a fine example of how satisfying and flavourful everyday ingredients can be; in this salad, they bring an exciting green creaminess to the vegetables and grains.
- 1 large broccoli head (about 500 g), cut into florets
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 250 g freekeh, rinsed
- 750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock or water
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1 radish, finely sliced
- 75 g (½ cup) feta, cubed
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
- sea salt and black pepper
- 310 g (2 cups) frozen peas
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ cup basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of ½ lemon
- sea 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.
- Heat a griddle pan or barbecue until it is very hot. Place the broccoli florets in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Cook the broccoli on the hot pan or barbecue for 3–4 minutes, turning often to achieve an even char. Set aside.
- Add the freekeh to a saucepan and pour over the vegetable stock or water. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20–25 minutes, until the freekeh is tender. Drain and set aside.
- To make the smashed peas, bring a small pot of salted water to the boil, add the peas and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain immediately, retaining 2–3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid for the mashing, and rinse under cold running water until the peas are completely cold. Place the cold peas, garlic and basil in a food processor or blender and pulse four or five times to break up the peas. Add the pea cooking liquid, olive oil and lemon juice and pulse again a few times until combined, but still quite chunky. (You can also pound this mixture together using a mortar and pestle.) Season with sea salt and black pepper. Makes 1½ cups.
- Peel the avocado and chop into large chunks. Combine the broccoli, freekeh, avocado and spinach with half of the smashed peas and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper and toss to combine. Place the salad on a serving plate and spoon over more of the smashed peas. Scatter over the radish slices, feta and toasted almonds.
• Substitute freekeh with quinoa for gluten free.