It started at the Farmer’s Market when I decided I needed to make pesto sauce. The weather was gorgeous, I was wearing a sundress and it seemed like the right thing to do.
Because there is a saying about the best laid plans and how they never work out or something like that, I could not find one piece of basil at the farmer’s market. Sure, there were lovely basil plants abound, but my ability to nurture anything, plants included, is a resource that remains untapped. Also, a half-grown basil plant would probably not make the ideal pesto. That’s just speculation.
So, I thought fast on my feet and picked up a bunch of mint. Actually, what I was really thinking was “if I can’t make basil pesto, I’ll make mojitos.” Since it was noon and I have clients that depend on me not to be drinking mojitos at noon, I decided to see what else I could slam together with mint. I remembered reading a tweet from someone over the weekend that talked about mint and pea pesto. Suddenly, the bag of frozen peas in my freezer had a purpose.
- 1½ cups frozen peas, defrosted*
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 large whole-grain baguette cut into ½-inch thick slices and toasted
For me, this 1½ cups was a little less than a 10-ounce bag because I had already used some of the peas. If you're feeling daring, throw in the whole bag and I'm sure you'll still get great results.
- Toast your baguette. Lay the slides on a baking sheet and place them in a 350 degree F oven for approximately 8-10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking so that the sides brown easily.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a small food processor (such as a Cuisinart 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder) place peas, Parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is combined and about the consistency of a traditional guacamole.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of the pea/mint mixture onto each slice of crostini. If desired [translation: if you want to make it look pretty] garnish with extra mint and cheese. I think the cheese is neither here nor there but the extra mint adds a nice pop of flavor to the final product. Depending on how big your baguette is, this should make 12-18 pieces, serving 6-9 people as an appetizer or snack.