Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Lamb with Garden Peas and Fresh Wasabi

In the last two weeks our garden has taken off.  Fiona's months of preparing the soil and starting thousands of tiny plants has resulted in a veritable jungle of herbs and vegetables.  We can't keep up with the baskets of mustard, thousands of arugula flowers or the never ending supply of mint and thyme.  The peas that climb the back wall of the garden have already produced large-sweet pods and are covered in perfect curly tendrils and white blossoms.  This formidable stand of peas inspired our recent lamb dish:  Miso roasted spring lamb loin with Sweet Peas, Fresh Wasabi Root, Toasted Nori-Rice Crisps and Tamari Pickled Peanuts.

Speaking of pickled peanuts.... a few weeks ago I had the chance to cook a luncheon at Marea in New York City on behalf of Monterey County.  Some of New York's most prominent food and travel writers came to the luncheon to learn about Monterey County and see why it is quickly becoming a food and wine destination.  During my short trip to New York I fit in some great dining.  One of my favorite dishes was an aged squab breast with pickled peanuts and Foie Gras "peanuts" that was part of an 18 course tasting menu at Atera.

When I was thinking about how I wanted to incorporate our abundance of sweet peas onto the menu my mind migrated to wasabi coated peas.  Wasabi peas reminded me of Iso Peanuts (a popular Hawaiian snack food of peanuts crusted with soy and nori).  This brought be back to the pickled peanuts I had at Atera - and somehow from there I ended up with this dish.  The textural contrast between the pickled peanuts and fresh peas is really nice. 

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