It’s what I’ll usually pull out if people are coming over. What, with public transport and busy lives it’s mad to expect everyone to arrive at the same time for a proper plated starter. Having a picking platter to start means people can just dive straight in- there’s no prissiness of waiting for everyone before you get down to the business of eating, drinking and being merry.
But here’s the thing about my tasting plates. Their usual suspects as well worn as my black ballet slippers that have a hole in a toe. I’m sick to hell of hummous. I’m beyond babaganoush. And even my favoured white bean and marinated artichoke dip is starting to give me the irks.
So, I’ve moved onto greener pastures.
There’s a good novelty factor in this dip. It comes from things I’ve normally got kicking about, and gets ready pretty much all on its own.
It starts with a cup of frozen peas. They’re always in my freezer. How would I have green soup without them? What would I put on my toes when I crack them in yoga classes?
Then there’s a few tablespoons of marinated feta. It’s usually there the back of the fridge, lurking jar in a puddle of olive oil. It’s the saviour of limpid salads and frittatas. Now it gets to be a hero here as well.
Then it’s a few garlic cloves and half the juice of a lime and the zest (the other half probably found its way into a gin and tonic somewhere). But if there’s no lime, then lemon is fine.
I could stop there, but a fat handful of mint leaves turns it straight into a ray of sunshine, even if there’s none else about.
The best thing about it, is there’s no cooking involved. I don’t even have to defrost the peas. If I make it an hour or so before people turn up and then leave it out on the table, it will slowly come to room temperature. It just happily sits there, patiently waiting to be joined by slices of baguette, grissini and your guests.
I think this one is going to be a keeper.
I like it so much that I might even take it on a picnic.
And don’t even get me started on how I feel about picnics.
Pea, feta and mint dip
Makes 1 and a quarter cups of dip. Enough for four to six people as part of a tasting platter.
NB it would also be lovely as a dipping sauce or side for grilled lamb chops.
A blender. A citrus grater.
1 cup of frozen peas
1/3 of a cup of feta cubes marinated in olive oil
2 garlic cloves
zest and juice of half a lime
1 large handful of mint leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 handful of pumpkin seeds to go over the top
Here’s how we roll
1. Blitz everything bar the pumpkin together in a blender. Check the seasoning. If it’s too thick, add a little more olive oil or lime juice.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with pumpkin seeds. Let it come to room temperature (should take about an hour).
3. Serve as part of a tasting platter with grissini, toasted baguette slices and piles of prosciutto.
(I highly suggest wrapping the grissini in prosciutto and then dipping it…)