This is a recipe with a Southern twist, inspired by a New York City restaurant dish that itself is based on a classic from Italy.
King is a bistro in the Soho area of Manhattan that serves simple comfort food influenced by the food of Italy and Southern France. Their recipe for “Chickpea Puree with Wilted Dandelion Greens” first appeared in the Wall Street Journal in February 2017.
A creamy warm puree of chickpeas topped with dandelion greens, which have been wilted and simply seasoned with salt, pepper and good olive oil, it is a comforting dish for the cold days of February. The New York restaurant version is based on a simple Italian dish known as “crema di ceci e cicoria”
Rather than chickpeas I turned in a Southern direction and tried a variation on the recipe with field peas. Field peas are plentiful and common in our corner of the south at the height of summer. Last year we saw plenty in our CSA box and cooked and froze a few bags ready to enjoy in the middle of winter.
Field peas thrive in the hot, humid Southern summers. They are a family of legumes that come in a variety of guises and go by a range of names from the well known black eye peas to crowder peas, cowpeas, pink eyed peas and lady cream peas.
Thawed from the freezer it didn’t take long to combine the field peas with some aromatics and turn them into a soft, warm puree which went perfectly with some simply cooked and seasoned greens. A truly comforting dish for a winter’s day.
Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale
12oz cooked field peas (I thawed a bag that I had previously cooked and frozen)
1 sprig rosemary
8 small sage leaves
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with the side of a knife
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch kale (or greens of your choice)
Put the peas in a heavy bottomed pan and add water to cover. Add the rosemary, sage, garlic, potato and 1/2 cup of the olive oil.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then turn down to a simmer and cook until the potato is tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
Remove the rosemary, sage leaves and garlic cloves.
In a food processor, puree the field peas and potato with the other 1/2 cup of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more oil or cooking water as desired to achieve a smooth consistency.
Meanwhile, take a bunch of greens (I used kale), and cook in salted water until tender. Once cooked, drain and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Spoon the puree onto a plate, drizzle with a little more oil and serve with the greens on top.