Unless you are picking peas straight from the garden I would opt for frozen petits pois. This is a fantastic late spring/early summer starter and especially good when paired with a salty protein like parma ham or smoked salmon. If you don’t want to turn out the panna cottas you could set the pea purée in soup bowls (those wide-rimmed ones with small bases are perfect) which look just as impressive and very cheffy. If you are not unmoulding the panna cottas use 3 sheets of gelatine as you do not need such a firm set. I would advise using a liquidiser or a stick blender, as a food processor-i.e. Magimix, doesn’t purée the vegetables finely enough.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus extra for greasing
- 1 banana (echalion) shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 300g frozen petits pois
- 250ml vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
- 200ml double cream
- 20g mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 100g Greek yogurt
- 4 sheets (about 8g) gelatine
- To serve parma ham or smoked salmon and salad leaves
- Lightly oil and base-line 6 x 150ml dariole moulds (or ramekins). Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the shallot over a low heat for 5 minutes until soft. Add the peas and stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 minute. Take off the heat and stir in the cream and mint leaves and leave to cool.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 -10 minutes until spongy and soft. Liquidize the pea mixture and pass through a fine sieve, extracting as much liquid as possible. Pour into a large jug-you should have about 600ml . Stir in the Greek yogurt.
- Lift the softened gelatine out of the water and put in a small saucepan. Place over a low heat until the gelatine has melted-don’t let it boil. Stir into the pea purée and taste and season with salt and ground black pepper. Pour into the prepared moulds and refrigerate for at least 5-6 hours until set.
- To serve, run a knife around the edge of each mould and tip out the panna cotta on to a dinner plate. Remember to peel off the wax disc if it has stuck to the top of the panna cottas. Garnish with mint leaves and arrange some salad leaves and parma ham or smoked salmon on the side.