Spring Pea “Panna Cotta”

Pea Panna Cotta w/ shrimp and goat cheese gnocchi

It took a little longer than usual this year, but Spring finally arrived.  We’ve  put away those  heavy, braised meat and potato items, and traded them in for some lighter fare with sweet, green peas.  We have a few choices, when it comes to these tender green vegetables:

  • Sweet and crispy snow peas; pick ‘em while they’re still nice and flat and enjoy ‘pod and all’ in salads and various stir-fry.
  • ‘Snap’ or ‘Sugar’ peas are a southern favorite.  Let the pods get a little fatter on the vine before picking, discard the strings and eat these sweet treats ‘pod and all’.
  • And, of course, your basic ‘English’, ‘garden’ or ‘shelling’ peas; where you zip open the pod and just eat the tasty peas inside.

This “panna cotta”  is made from English peas, blanched spinach( for color), and carrageenan.  Traditionally, called for gelatin,  I used a mix of iota and kappa carrageenan, it adds a smooth mouth feel and makes it a vegan option.

Pea Panna Cotta

Fresh green peas (frozen works too)

spinach, blanched

mint leaves, to taste

iota carrageenan (.3%)

kappa carrageenan (.3%)

salt/pepper

Blanch peas until tender, then shock.  Blend peas, spinach, and mint in a vita-prep and add just enough water to form a vortex.  Add carrageenan, shear, and season.  In a medium sauce pot, heat mixture to 80C-85C to fully hydrate and pour into desired, greased molds. Chill well.

**Carrageenan forms a thermoreversible gel.  Therefore, once the gel reaches a temperature range of 55C-70C, or comes in contact with a warm plate, it will start to melt.  If controlled correctly, can make for a great plate presentation, or can  be served with a cold salad.

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