This may make me a little unusual, but when Beth handed me a bag full of fresh mint from her garden, the first thing I thought of was not sweet, it was peas. Mint and peas, a match made in heaven. I think that fresh mint in a savory setting does much more to bring out the fresh and springy flavor of the herb than a sweet setting. I get excited by savory recipes featuring mint.
Fresh peas are a natural companion to mint and make an incredibly simple side dish with some lemon juice and olive oil. It takes all of 4 minutes to blanch the peas and you're pretty much done. I decided to punch up the combo by adding a nice cheese into the mix, and settled on a relatively mild Rossellino cheese, a middle-aged pecorino romano that is meant for eating as opposed to grating. It is like a more subtle, smoother version of the aged pecorino. Because of its touch of sweetness, Rossellino pairs wonderfully with the bright fresh peas and mint. It is the epitome of springtime flavor. Recipe after the jump:
SPRING PEAS WITH LEMON, MINT, AND ROSSELLINO CHEESE
1 pounds fresh peas, shelled
3 tbsp fresh mint, cut in a chiffonade
juice of half a large lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 pound Rossellino cheese, cut into small cubes
Bring a 2-quart pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the peas for 4 minutes, then remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Combine the peas, mint and cheese in a medium bowl, dress with the lemon and oil, toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.