Today, I want to introduce my friend and college roommate, Robin. In our apartment, Robin is known for, among other things, being the first person I think of whenever I do something truly stupid. When, say, I leave an immersion blender plugged in to the wall and standing in a glass full of a milkshake I’ve been looking forward to drinking for weeks only to have it crash to the ground destroying the glass, the smoothie, and my night, the first thing I do is moan, “Robin would never do this.” Inexplicably set my sweater on fire while leaning over the stove? “Robin would never do this.” Plunge a glass bowl used as part of a jerry-rigged “double-boiler” directly in to an ice water bath? Robin would definitely never do that.
You see, Robin moves with precision. She actually thinks before she does. Watching her in the kitchen, provides an example to aspire to. Food does not fly everywhere. Red wine stays in its cup. She can own white furniture (as long as I don’t visit too often).
This level of thought extends to the ingredients she chooses to pair, which is why when Robin introduced me to peas and feta I knew she was on to something even before I tried it. And, she was on to something. Peas, quickly sautéed in a little olive oil with chopped feta tossed in right at the end, and a side of crusty bread are a perfect dinner for one. Sautéing peas, another thing Robin taught me to do, keeps them from being mushy. Instead they pop gently against your teeth. Their sweetness balances the salty tang of feta. And, it all comes together in under five minutes. Perfect for college seniors and everyone else. I haven’t been without a bag of frozen peas in my freezer since Robin first mentioned this dish.
Maybe it’s the lack of crusty bread in my life (gluten-free bread is just never crusty is it?), or a seven-year recipe itch, but the other night I decided peas and feta needed an update. What if, I thought, I made peas and feta toast? After they came out of the pan, I would mash the peas and feta together to make it more of a spread and then pile it on toast. I added some garlic to the peas and some red pepper flakes at the end. Then I told Noah that I didn’t plan to eat anything else for the rest of the week.
Peas and Feta Toast:
– Four slices of bread
– 1 cup frozen peas
– 1/4 cup feta, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic
– Olive oil for sautéing
– Red pepper flakes to taste
– Salt to taste
* Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan on high heat.
* Add garlic and cook until it just begins to turn brown.
* Add peas and sauté for 4-5 minutes until they are warmed through.
* Add feta and cook for another minute or two until it begins to melt. You’ll want to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula pretty consistently once you add the feta or it will stick to the bottom of the pan and you will never, ever be able to get it off. Then, as you stare at the pan soaking for weeks at the bottom of the sink you will think yourself, “Robin would never do this.”
* Remove mixture from heat and pour in to a bowl.
* Using the back of a fork, mash the peas and feta. As I said, peas cooked this way are surprisingly springy so this takes some effort. I left it so some of the peas got mashed, but others were only broken in half and a few remained whole.
* Toast four slices of bread.
* Pile pea mixture on to toast and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt to taste.
Note: When I told Robin about this she thought it sounded delicious, but suggested adding a little bit of mint. I bet that would be amazing as well.