The other day, I received a voice message from my sweet friend, Lisa. “Blair, I was just at the farmer’s market and saw Lady Peas, and I always think of you when I see Lady Peas, so I left you a bag on your front porch bench.”
When I thanked Lisa, I forgot to ask why she thinks of me whenever she sees Lady Peas. Perhaps it’s because I once wrote a pea-themed love poem for my husband, but more likely it’s because I once created a Lady Pea bruschetta for her birthday party. About a dozen of us, dressed-up with tall cocktails in hand, huddled around the dining table’s full platter. The crisp bread rounds, smeared with gobs of olive oil and puree, were garnished with the remaining peas. The appetizers were tasty, but as soon as we bit into the toasts, the peas flew–like buckshot–all over floor. Everyone got a pass on manners that evening, and we had an extra good time.
Also left on the porch bench (that very day) were some old cookbooks a neighbor found in her mother’s belongings. She left them for my husband, whose work is the study and writing of food culture. Spiral bound, the pages of the old cookbooks present a tightly knit community of women. Each recipe, in the lower right-hand side–like an artist’s signature–is signed with the proud contributor’s name.
Blair’s Lady Pea Bruschetta
One Baguette, sliced into small rounds
Bathe each slice in olive oil and lightly toast
3 cups Lady Peas
1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube
Cover peas in water, add bouillon cube, simmer until tender
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
Chop garlic and briefly simmer in olive oil
Drain 2 1/2 cups Lady Peas and add to food processor
Drizzle olive oil and sauteed garlic into food processor
Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Puree with salt and pepper to taste
Spread puree onto toasts and return to oven until toasts are golden
and puree is heated
Assemble bruschetta slices on platter, and sprinkle remaining peas
over the toasts as garnish.
Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, chopped flat-leafed parsley, and
more olive oil or grated Parmesan if needed.