Smashed lemony peas

By Wendy Andresen | Jul 03, 2019
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

I’m puzzled about why this improbable combination of ingredients works so well together. Fresh peas are available now, and their sweetness is somehow accented by the tartness of lemon. Believe me, this dish will surprise you with its fresh, clean flavor. Serve it warm, at room temperature, or cold as a tasty dip, spread, or sandwich filling. Some folks like the flavor of mint with peas, and I can accept that, although I can’t say it’s my taste. The spiciness of radishes in some fashion seems to serve as a welcome counterpoint to the creamy sweetness of the peas.

The accompanying photo shows open-faced sandwiches because they make such a pretty picture. Just don’t send your child to school with this as a sandwich filling, or he’ll get the stuffing beaten out of him by anyone who swaps lunches. My son, who is now a chef instructor, likes to remind me of the indignities he suffered in school because his sandwiches were on homemade bread instead of the usual flimsy, tasteless white. He finally appreciates what I did for him.


1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh shelled green peas

1 small clove garlic, pressed

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves or mint leaves

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (use your best)

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/3 tsp. salt

Red pepper flakes

Sturdy sandwich bread (sourdough is superb)

Pea sprouts, radish sprouts, or microgreens

Extra-virgin olive oil


1. Place the peas in a microwave-safe dish with 2 Tbsp. water, cover, and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir, then cook for another 2 minutes. Check for doneness. Drain the peas well.

2. In a food processor, combine the peas, garlic, parsley or mint, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Process until mostly smooth, but leave it a little chunky.

3. Toast the bread and spread it lavishly with the pea mixture. Drizzle over a little of your best olive oil and add a little freshly ground black pepper. Top with pea sprouts or microgreens.

4. For a quick radish relish accompaniment, combine chopped radishes (thoroughly dried) with just enough egg-free mayonnaise to bind them, a few capers, and several grinds of fresh black pepper.

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