Friday, 9 September 2011

Give peas a chance

Panna cotta pea perfection on a plate

Panna cotta is the stuff of gods...  and there's nothing you can't do with it,it´s so versatile, as I was to find when I read Felicity Cloake´s recent Guardian word of mouth post "How to cook the perfect panna cotta." My palate was tickled by this comment from  Guardian regular nom de plume nationwide  ( Not an old television show............ Not a Building Society he tells us on his blog).

 "The pea season is all but gone but one of the few savoury treats that transfers successfully from restaurant to home is pea panna cotta as a starter. The sweetness of the peas works really well (you don't need sugar) and it looks fab so possibly frozen will work just as well. Serve with slices of crispy bacon or posh crisped parma ham / pancetta recipe: puree the peas, and add to panna cotta mix (no sugar)"....... "I think it's the natural sweetness of the peas that allows it to get away with the 'panna cotta' label" 
I love spontaneity and improvisation in the kitchen, and this comment put before me just that and most of all a culinary challenge - to make my first ever savoury panna cotta. Yum! I love the interplay of textures here. Usually panna cotta seems a little boring, but not with all these great ingredients. Incredible easy to prepare and a welcome twist to the usually sweet panna cotta versions. Here in Portugal perfectly seasonal as well.He did not give us the recipe but with a bit of nouse and the help of an online savoury panna cotta recipe I found, I set about the challenge and most of all was starting to get excited by the anticipation of achieving savoury inner thigh wibble and of the colour it would bring to the dinner table.So here is the recipe for my successful attempt to replicate nationwide´s idea.Slightly rich, yes, but cut by the crispness and saltiness of the bacon, quite a bloody little wonder. This is one of those recipes that could have Gordon and Heston shaking in their checked trousers?

Minted pea panna cotta
Makes 6 ramekins
3 sheets gelatine
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Soak gelatine in mixture of milk and cream
Sauté shallots in butter and add peas
Add chicken stock and simmer for five minutes or until peas are just cooked
Purée in blender with mint
Adjust seasoning
Remove gelatine from milk cream mixure
Heat mixture. Do not boil
Remove from heat and whisk in gelatine until dissolved
Whisk in pea purée and season with salt and pepper
Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve
Pour into ramekins and chill overnight
Unmould and serve with some crispy bacon or posh presunto,prosciutto pancetta ...and crunch.
Apparently panna cotta should jiggle like a "beautiful lady's breast" and this is exactly what mine did ( the panna cotta not my man breast). A trembling, pristine little thing flopped onto the plate.


4 comments:

  1. All we are saying . . . is you have definitely given peas a new lease of life here. Serve it as a starter?

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  2. I know how much you love your peas so I dedicate this one to you for sure. I served it as a starter but I suppose you could make slightly larger ramekins and embellish it with a salad perhaps?- Its quite rich however.

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