Friday, 19 June 2009

Sweet peas and goat's cheese

Yes, it's that time of year again.....it's that time when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Fortunately there are lots of Italian foods that are not fattening! This is a light recipe that one could serve as a starter or as a main course.

I use Vittorio Cassini olive oil. It is beautifully aromatic and perfectly complements the sweet peas and the creamy tang of the goat's cheese.

Serves 2 as a main course (4 as a starter)

- 25 g butter
- 2 large banana shallots, peeled, then sliced into rings
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch

- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 thin slices of fresh italian bread
- 50 ml olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
- 200 g fresh sweet peas, blanched and refreshed
- 100 g fresh broad beans, blanched and refreshed
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon
- 60 g goat's cheese, diced

Heat the oven to 180 °C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Begin by caramelising the shallots: heat a medium-sized frying pan, then add the butter. When foaming, add the shallots, ½ tsp salt and thyme. Cook gently until golden - between 5 and 7 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10 minutes, then set aside. Brush the bread with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes, until crispy.
To assemble the salad, place the peas, broad beans and tarragon into a bowl.
Mix with the remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange on plates with the shallots, goat's cheese and croƻtes.

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