This time of year brings a host of colourful and vibrant vegetables into my restaurant kitchen, so much so that I was inspired to create a new ‘garden’ starter.
The rich and smooth pea custard in this recipe acts as a really substantial base for the light, crunchy vegetables.
As spring is turning into summer, it really lends itself to a dish like this where you can take full advantage of the abundance of amazing ingredients available not only at your local greengrocer but also at your local farmers’ market. The farmers’ markets in Edinburgh are second to none so why not take advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve had this week and pay yours a visit? It makes for a great day out and you are bound to head home with a scrumptious selection of seasonal ingredients.
This recipe is definitely one to try at home. Not only can it be fully prepared ahead of time but it is also truly versatile. It makes an attractive vegetarian starter but equally it could be served as an alternative to crudités and dip at a summer party. The vegetables that cover the dish act as crudités which guests can use to scoop up the pea custard.
At the restaurant we serve this dish topped with bread croutons, asparagus, baby carrots, broad beans, peas, enoki mushrooms and wild Scottish flowers. We blanch all of the vegetables in advance, however it would work equally well with thinly sliced raw vegetables.
You can get really creative here and use whichever selection of seasonal toppings you like. I would love to see your interpretations of this dish so please send me a wee tweet @markgreenaway.
1 banana shallot, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
100ml double cream
500g fresh or frozen peas
7 egg yolks
Gently sweat the shallot and garlic in the butter.
Add the milk and cream.
Bring to the boil and season with salt.
Blend the peas in a high speed blender.
Add the milk and cream mixture.
Blend until smooth.
Pass through a fine sieve.
Add the mixture to a large bowl.
Mix in the egg yolks.
Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water or bain marie.
Stir the mixture continuously until it reaches 82C on a thermometer.
Season again to taste.
Set the mixture in 5 bowls over ice.
Place the bowls in the fridge so that the custard can fully set.
When you are ready to serve, remove the bowls from the fridge and arrange your selection of vegetables upright on top of the pea custard.