With the beauty of spring in the air I continue to be inspired by Mother Nature’s bounty, especially beautiful spring peas, spring onions and baby herbs starting to grow. Last year we planted big buckets of herbs in our backyard and happily had some of them flourish, some unfortunately didn’t fare as well in the heat. Luckily, we left the planters untouched throughout our mild winter and are now benefiting from mint, thyme, rosemary and chives that seem to be thriving with the help of our April showers. This fresh and healthy side dish pops with the help of a bunch of fresh mint, cilantro, spring onions and a sprinkle of snipped chives, and beautiful chive flowers on top.
Sweet Spring Pea Custard with Mint and Chive Flowers
2 cups shelled spring peas (if you can’t find fresh, frozen will work, just make sure they are baby peas)
1 spring onion, top and end snipped and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (whatever you like, whole will be creamier but 2% will work as well)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the peas to a sauce pot filled with water and seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil and cook the peas until they are soft. Meanwhile grease six 4.5 ounce oven safe ramekins with butter and place in a high sided baking dish. Set aside. Fill another large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. When the peas have cooked, drain them and add them to a food processor with the herbs, garlic, lemon juice and wasabi. Pulse until very smooth. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the pea mixture, just a touch at first to temper the eggs if the peas are still hot. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients. Pour the pea mixture into each ramekin, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Place the pan into the oven. Carefully pour the water from the extra sauce pan, which should be boiling hot at this point, into the baking dish halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (Be careful not to get any water in the pea custard…or scald yourself….) Bake for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally, until the custard has set. It should be firm on the outside, still slightly giggly on the inside. Remove from the oven and carefully remove from the pan and set on a cooling rack; cool for 20 minutes or until you are ready to serve. When ready carefully run the tip of a knife around the inside rim of the custard. Invert it onto a plate. (You can dip the custard in a pit of hot water to help the process if they are not sliding out easily.) Garnish with fresh snipped chives and chive flowers.