I've always associated a side of something mashed or puréed with cold weather eating. I mean, mashed potatoes and sweet puréed squash doesn't exactly scream spring. But for those who crave the softly satisfying texture of a mashed side year round, warm weather doesn't have to mean saying goodbye to all things mushy.
Adapted from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch, these Lamb Steaks with Peas and Mint are served with a purée of a springier vegetable—sweet peas. Briefly boiled until their sugars release, buzzed in the blender with leaves of mint and melted butter, these peas would be wonderful with just about anything grilled—scallops, sausages, steaks, or lamb. Author Nigel Slater serves his with little thyme-rubbed lamb steaks. By letting the steaks (or rib chops, if you'd prefer) sit in a slick of chopped thyme and olive oil for half an hour before grilling, the thyme has a chance to really soak in and lightly char once it hits the grill. Serving grilled lamb with mashed potatoes seems a bit out of season, but the minty puréed peas transform it into a dish that's all about spring.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch to give away this week.
Reprinted with permission from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater. Copyright © 2009, 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 6 bushy sprigs thyme
- a little olive oil
- 4 lamb steaks or 12 small rib chops
- For the pea purée:
- 3 cups (400g) shelled peas
- 4 sprigs mint
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- To finish, optional:
- 4 small handfuls pea shoots
- extra-virgin olive oil
Chop the thyme, then mash it in a pestle and mortar with a large pinch of salt. Stir in the olive oil and a grinding of pepper. Brush over the lamb and set aside for thirty minutes.
Boil the peas in lightly salted water until tender. Meanwhile, put the mint leaves, butter, and a pinch of salt into a blender or food processor and whiz until smooth. Drain the peas and whiz them in the blender or processor with the mint butter until you have a thick, green cream. If you need to keep it warm, put it in a bowl covered with aluminum foil in a pan of hot water.
Grill the lamb on both sides until the outside has crisped and the inside is still rose pink and juicy. Depending on the thickness of your lamb and the heat of your grill, this will take about four minutes on each side.
Divide the pea cream among four warm plates. Place the cooked lamb on top, then a handful of pea shoots on the lamb. Shake a little olive oil over the lamb and pea shoots and serve.