If you would have asked me just a handful of years ago to list two things I hate, I’d probably have answered peas and Los Angeles. I wanted nothing to do with either and both had left a bad taste in my mouth.
When I was young, I detested peas because all I’d really known were the canned version. If you’ve ever experienced them, you probably hated peas too. It’s hard to shake that tinny taste of mushy, lifeless canned peas. LA was the same for me. All I’d experienced was the pre-packaged, canned version of LA – the surfacey, touristy, superficial version full of fake folks and kitschy traps.
The thing is, I was doing it all wrong. When you haven’t tasted hand-shelled, farm-fresh sweet peas or experienced the cozy, neighborly corners of LA, filled with great restaurants and kind people, it’s easy to write them both off completely.
I’ve learned to give peas a chance and I can now say, I am a big fan both peas and The City of Angels. On a recent visit to a new LA hotspot, I experienced both at their finest. Petit Trios is a tiny slice of Paris located in a strip mall, behind a Chevron station, next to a place called Yum Yum Donuts. From the exterior, it’s almost entirely unassuming if it weren’t for the French inspired, gold window signage and the absurd strip mall valet service. Inside, is an intimate bistro that only seats 22 people and serves all of the legit French café faves, with a fine selection of wine and carefully crafted cocktails.
I am a sucker for French Onion Soup, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be; a comforting crock of rich and sweet oniony broth topped with a thick layer of toasty bread and more bubbly gruyere than you’d ever admit to eating (but I guarantee, you will eat it all). It was delightful. Another big winner for me was the spring special, scrolled on the sandwich board out front; a simple Pea and Goat Cheese Tartine. It was fresh and bright and surprisingly satisfying. The moment I tasted it, I knew I had to recreate it at home. So, I popped over to the hip hood of Venice and scored a hearty loaf of hand formed sourdough from Gjusta before heading back to Santa Barbara to create my own version of this tangy tartine.
My recipe for Pea Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Tartine, features a thick slab of sourdough grilled to crusty perfection, topped with rich goat cheese, creamy Greek yogurt, lemon zest and fresh dill whipped together into a fluffy, tangy spread. It’s piled high with fresh, blanched peas and sautéed shallots, topped with aged prosciutto baked into crispy shards of salty goodness and finished with a spritz of fresh lemon and dill. The combo of tart, bright and earthy flavors taste of spring and renewal.
Not to sound too new age-ie , but I suggest you give peas a chance. It’s surprising how much you might come around when you give something another go, I’m looking at you, LA. You might just find yourself at a quaint restaurant tucked away in a strip mall, dining on an incredibly fresh Pea Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Tartine, a bubbly crock of French Onion Soup, and a crisp glass of French Rosé. Pass the peas, please!
- quality sourdough bread - 2 thick slices
- goat cheese - 6 ounces
- fresh spring peas, shelled - 1 cup
- Greek yogurt - 2 tablespoons
- lemon - 1
- small shallot - 1
- fresh dill, finely chopped - 2 teaspoons
- prosciutto - 2-3 slices
- olive oil - 1 tablespoon
- Preheat oven to 400°. Place prosciutto slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes, until crispy. Allow to cool on baking sheet and then break into shards or crumbles.
- Add the goat cheese, Greek yogurt, the zest of half of a lemon and 1 1/2 teaspoons of dill to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip together for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer to scrape the sides down a couple of times. Set aside.
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. Add the shelled peas and cook for 1-2 minutes until just tender. Drain and immediately immerse the peas in an ice bath. Set aside.
- Pour the olive oil into a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced shallots and sauté for a few minutes until they are soft and translucent. Remove from heat and add the peas, and juice from the lemon. Toss to combine.
- While you sauté the shallots, grill the bread on a rippin' hot and dry cast iron grill pan, cast iron skillet or in the oven on the broil setting to your toasty preference.
- Top the grilled tartine slabs with the goat cheese spread, then crumbles of the crispy prosciutto shards, the pea mixture, a sprinkle of fresh chopped dill, lemon zest and pepper to taste.
- Serve alfresco with a crisp glass of Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.