"A perfect showcase for the early-season peas, this toast can be an appetizer, a first course, or a light main course," says chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene's in Portland. "A layer of fresh sheep's cheese, sweet and mild, would be so nice with the peas, but I also use my go-to cheese topping, whipped ricotta."
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. English peas in their pods, shelled (1 1/2 to 2 cups peas)
3 red spring onions or scallions, trimmed (including 1/2 in. off the green tops), thinly sliced on a sharp angle, soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, and drained well
1 lemon, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful mint leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 1/2-in.-thick slices country bread
1 cup fresh sheep cheese, fromage blanc, mild goat cheese, or whipped ricotta
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating
How to Make It
Put shelled peas and onions in a bowl, squeeze on juice from half the lemon, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add mint, taste and adjust with more lemon, salt, or pepper, and then add 1/4 cup olive oil.
Grill, broil, or toast bread on both sides. Spread fresh cheese onto each toast and arrange on plates. Tumble peas onto each toast, pressing lightly so that most of peas stick to cheese.
Finish with a nice shower of grated Parmigiano and a thin ribbon of olive oil.
Recipe Adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright 2017. Ava Gene's, Portland