When these zipper peas cropped up in the garden I didn’t know what to expect. We hadn’t ever grown them and I’d never even eaten one. They were surprisingly delicious. I feel like they are almost a cross between a fava, green pea, and a black-eyed pea. One evening this summer, Daniel and I had this for dinner with a side salad, but it would be great served as an app to a small group. The ingredients are super bright but if done right this dish is rich.
1 cup of southern peas (also known as cream zipper cow peas) shelled
1 crusty baguette
1 cup homemade ricotta cheese or store bought is fine too
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of good olive oil plus lots more for soaking the grilled bread
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) to taste
Blanch your shelled peas for 1 or 2 (or until they are the tenderness you desire.) I like them with a bit of a bite. Then place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Next slice your baguette very thin and on the bias so you get more surface area to cover with the good stuff. Think 1/4 inch thick. On a dry grill or grill pan (very important) start to grill the bead so it is toasty and has brown (not black) grill marks. You will have to do this in rounds most likely. Meanwhile, peel all your garlic reserving two whole cloves and then slicing the rest paper thin. After you pull the bread off the pan and it is still hot… rub the whole peeled garlic all over one side of the bread then douse it in olive oil and don’t be shy, this is a major reason that this bruschetta is delicious. In a small pan, add your half cup of olive oil and chopped garlic, cook this on super low heat until the garlic is carmelized and light tan (not brown). It should smell lovely…not burnt. Once it looks and smells ready, pull it off the heat and add in the chives. In a small bowl mix the ricotta, a big pinch of salt, lemon zest and remaining herbs. Now it is time to assemble. Spread a smear of the ricotta mixture over the garlic rubbed side of the bread, then add a tsp or so of peas. Finish it off with a drizzle of the garlic chive oil. Sprinkle with more salt.