Who needs avocado for their toast when peas are in season?
These bright green bites are topped with flakes of smoky trout—but if that’s hard to find try nova lox, hot smoked salmon, or even chunks of crisped smoky bacon. And if you’re not into fish or meat, the toasts are equally delicious without any meat or fish at all.
Note before you dive in: While bottled prepared horseradish will do in a pinch, a whole fresh horseradish root keeps well in the fridge almost indefinitely and can be grated over everything from stews to roasted fish—even your Sunday Bloody Mary—so seeking one out is well worth the trouble; they’re harvested in the fall and winter but keep in cold storage beautifully and are usually easy to find in spring markets around Passover.
- 2 pounds English peas in the pod or 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot or small white onion
- 1 big sprig fresh rosemary
- Pinch dried chili flakes optional
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
- 6 –8 big mint leaves
- 6 slices country-style bread
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 4- ounce tube fresh goat cheese
- Fresh horseradish root for grating, or ½ teaspoon bottled prepared horseradish
- 4 ounces smoked trout nova lox, hot-smoked salmon or cooked bacon (optional)
- Fresh dill sprigs for garnish
- If using fresh peas in the pod, shell them (you should get about 2 cups), blanch them in boiling salty water 2–3 minutes, drain and shock in ice water; drain again and set aside. (If using frozen peas, run them under cool water to defrost, drain and set aside.)
- Mince the shallot or onion. In a large skillet heat 3 tablespoons olive oil with the shallot/onion, whole rosemary sprig and chili flakes, if using. Sauté until shallots are lightly browned and rosemary leaves are crisp, then add the drained peas and season with a big pinch of salt and some black pepper. Cook, stirring, until peas are heated through. Remove the rosemary sprig, pull off the leaves into the peas and discard the stalk.
- Using a Microplane grater, zest the lemon and then juice it. Scrape the pea mixture into the bowl of a food processor and add half the zest, 1 tablespoon juice and the mint leaves; pulse until coarsely pureed, adding olive oil if the mixture is too tight; be careful not to blend to a smooth paste—you want a chunky, “smashed” texture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper or lemon if needed; pulse again to combine and set aside.
- Toast or grill the bread slices and rub one side with the garlic clove. Mash the goat cheese with the remaining lemon juice and zest, a dribble of olive oil, a pinch each of salt and black pepper and if you’re using bottled horseradish, add it here (if you’re grating it fresh, wait until the end to use it as garnish).
- Smear each piece of toast with the goat cheese mixture and top with some warm smashed peas. Arrange flakes of smoked fish or bacon on top (if using) and if you’ve got a fresh horseradish root, grate it using a Microplane grater and finish with fresh dill. Serve immediately.
Learn more about sweet peas and then try a few of our other favorite sweet pea recipes: