In my eyes, peas always get the short end of the stick. They always get regaled to being a component of a dish instead of being the main attraction and it’s sad because they are so cute and tasty. Fresh peas in particular have the tendency to steal my heart (most notably because I am one of those bizarre people who adores shelling peas) and when their season arrives at the farmers market I find myself buying handfuls of them. I usually end up with far more peas then one would ever need to include in a batch of samosa’s or in a springified version of spaghetti carbonara and for that reason I decided this year I needed to find a dish where the peas could be the shinning little green stars they always wanted to be. I wanted a dish that could serve as a light dinner when accompanied by some crusty bread and a wedge of good cheese and when I found this dish I realized it was everything I could have ever wanted and so much more. It’s light and bright but also smoky and substantial. The lemon zest marries the flavors of the pork and cheese well and the charred peas lend a subtle sweetness to the plate. It’s absurdly simple, comes together beyond quickly, and is also a one pan meal making it ideal for hectic weeknights.
Charred Peas, Mortadella, and Burnt Ricotta
Recipe from Tasting Table
4-ounce piece mortadella cut into ½-inch cubes
4-ounces ricotta salata, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups fresh shelled peas (or 2 cups frozen)
2 tablespoons - ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (I found I didn’t need the full ¼ cup)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 medium garlic cloves very finely chopped
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (plus ¼ more if you deem it necessary)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until the skillet starts to smoke, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mortadella and stir occasionally. Once it starts to render its fat, after about 3 minutes, add the ricotta salata. Once the cheese begins to blacken around the edges, after about 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a large plate.
To the same skillet used for the mortadella and ricotta salata, add the peas. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peas are blistered and charred, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the olive oil over the peas and return the mortadella and ricotta salata to the skillet along with the lemon zest, parsley and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper, divide among 4 plates and serve.