I've spent the last several weeks packing up one room after another in my house, having it painted, and then unpacking. It's been quite a tedious chore, and I must admit, I left the worst for last - my office/guest bedroom which houses my cookbook library!
So a friend came over to help me pack up my fragile historic cookbooks and move bookshelves (among other things), so we started our day with a little tea party lunch. We had deviled eggs, spring pea "hummus" sandwiches, oatmeal nutmeg scones with butter and strawberry jam, and plenty of tea with sugar and milk. You can find my favorite deviled egg recipe and oatmeal nutmeg scone recipe here, but the spring pea "hummus" is new, so I thought I would share it as a nice, springy, Meatless Monday recipe. It's not historic in the least - it's my own creation - although it does FEEL like someone in the 1940s would have thought of this as a sandwich spread.
Spring Pea Hummus
If you want to keep the green color, you need an acid to prevent the peas from turning olive green. Yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar will all help keep that vibrant green. Fair warning - this makes a lot! Close to a quart. So cut the recipe in half if you live in a small household.
1 bag frozen peas
1/4 cup salted, roasted almonds
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon (or more) lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Bring about about an inch of water to boil in a 2 quart saucepan with a lid, then add the peas and steam, covered for 2 or 3 minutes, until they are tender and bright green. Drain and rinse in several changes of cold water to stop the cooking (and preserve the color). In a food processor or chopper, add all the ingredients, with the scallions and almonds in the bottom, so they blend first and best. Pulse until well-blended. Add a little water or more lemon juice to taste.
This is a very forgiving recipe, and will take substitutions easily, provided the peas stay. Substitute walnuts or pumpkin seeds for the almonds, or leave the nuts out altogether (they do give some body). Substitute yogurt or sour cream or even a little buttermilk, or even avocado for the cottage cheese. Use vinegar instead of lemon juice, garlic or raw onion or chives instead of scallions. Add spinach or fresh parsley or dill for extra color and flavor.
I served this spread on toasted rye bread, but you can serve it on any kind of bread, or crackers, or flatbread, or potato chips, or with vegetables, or roll it up inside thinly sliced salami, or a piece of cheese. Use it as an addition to a BLT (you can leave out the T, if you're so inclined), or a ham or turkey sandwich. Put pickled onions on top or dollop it on a baked potato, or both. Stir it into hot pasta with some chicken and roasted spring vegetables for a yummy pasta primavera. The possibilities are endless!
Let's be honest, the scones and deviled eggs are just about gone, but the spring pea hummus will be making several showings this week for lunch. It's a nice way to get an extra, and yummy, serving of vegetables in. I hope you enjoy it!
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Sarah Wassberg Johnson has an MA in Public History from the University at Albany and studies early 20th century food history.
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