Peas, mint, jamon

Peas, mint, jamon

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

The Basque country, while well known for the quality of its meat and seafood, also produces the best peas in the world. The coastline has the perfect micro-climate to produce peas of intense sweetness balanced with a delicate salinity. Here the peas only grow for a short time during the month of May. They are known as lagrimas (tear drops), or vegetable caviar, due to their delicate nature, which means they pop in the mouth. Immature baby peas appear tear-shaped and this is when they are at their sweetest (see Note).

Grilling peas whole in their shells protects them and imbues them with the flavour from the embers. Although you don’t get a lot of juice from the pods, it is sweet and intense. The combination of pea and ham is classic, but the incorporation of jamon imparts a rich flavour and intense aroma that is unparalleled. This ham undergoes extensive curing, for as long as 36 months. It has a unique sweetness, created in part by the diet of acorns the pigs feed on.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.2kg fresh sugar-snap peas in their pods (see note)
1 handful mint leaves, torn
sea salt
100g jamon iberico, thinly sliced
young pea shoots

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers and arrange a grill cooling rack approximately 10 cm (4 in) above the embers.
  2. 2. Grill the whole peas in their pods over the medium embers for 1–2 minutes, turning once. Remove and pod the peas, reserving the shells.
  3. 3. Juice the pea shells in a juicer and pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve.
  4. 4. In a warm pan, combine the peas with the pea juices and torn mint. Season lightly with salt.
  5. 5. Warm the jamon on the grill cooling rack until it becomes translucent.
  6. 6. Divide the peas and jamon between warmed serving bowls, finish with the pea shoots and serve immediately.

NOTE

  • For the best flavour use small peas that are young, sweet and tender.
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