Blistered Peas with Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds

 Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt

After the second night of eating out and one exasperated text away from throwing in towel and admitting yet another dinner defeat, I turned on the stove and grabbed a few simple ingredients to form some sort of dinner. We are trying to eat out less after all, and three nights in a row did seem a bit much, even for me.

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately – not eager to dive into the kitchen when it’s dinner time and not feeling the usual bit of glee when Jacques Pepin appears on TV to teach me the wonders of classic French cooking.

Just like any relationship, mine with food has its peaks and valleys. There are times when I’m madly in love with food. She’s all I can think about, and recipes pour out of me like velvety caramel. Other times it’s as dry as that loaf of bread I just threw out – too lazy to even make breadcrumbs.

The thing is, all relationships take intention, work and commitment. I’ve been in love with food long enough to know that my feelings flutter and then cease in different seasons. When I’m feeling uninspired I trust that excitement will once again strike but sometimes my creativity needs a bit of a nudge.

Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt

When I’m in the midst of a rut and am feeling tired with my cooking I push myself to try new things. A couple weeks ago I picked up the cookbook, Cairo Kitchen, because I know nothing about Egyptian cooking. Its exotic ingredients and flavor combinations have ignited many of our meals and have been the basis for several dinner parties. I’ve become enamored with dried mint, stunned by sumac and possibly have gone a bit overboard with Nigella seeds.

So I seek out new ingredients, new spices, new cuisine and new techniques to refuel our romance. With a bit of intention and stepping out of the mundane and into something exciting, my creativity is ignited and once again food and I are in a passionate romance.

That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with Frontier Co-op to bring you all and quite frankly, myself, inspiration for fresh ways to dress up the season’s produce with fragrant herbs and spices.

These peas are just the sort of recipe that lift me out of the doldrums and get my mind reeling with ideas. It’s crazy simple, uses only a few ingredients and yet tastes far more complicated.

First, the peas are quickly blistered in a hot pan with a bit of oil. At the last minute, a few pea shoots are thrown in – quite possibly my favorite spring ingredient. I love their tender sweet leaves, their light grassy flavor and the way the curled tendrils look on a plate. The hot peas lay on a bed of cool crème fraîche and are simply adorned with lemon zest, poppy seeds and a bit of flaky salt.

Over the next month, I’ll be exploring more creative ways to prepare seasonal produce on my and Frontier’s Instagram accounts. I’d love to hear about your ideas as well!

Follow along for ideas and to share your own recipes and ideas using the hashtag #SpiceUpSummer.

Blistered Peas with Creme Fraiche and Poppy Seeds // Not Without Salt

Blistered Peas with Crème Fraîche and Poppy Seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups sugar snap peas

2 cups pea shoots

3 ounces creme fraiche

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

flake salt

 

Add the olive oil to a large skillet set over high heat. When the oil shimmers add the peas in a single layer.

Cook until golden in parts and their green color turns bright, about 3 minutes.

Add the pea shoots and give a quick stir.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the crème fraîche to a platter then place the peas on top of that.

Finish with the lemon zest, poppy seeds and flake salt.

Enjoy right away.

 

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Spring Herb Lamb Burgers with Whipped Feta and Grilled Tomato

Spring Lamb Burger with Whipped Feta // Not Without Salt

We’re in that in between where the weather tells us it’s summer but the calendar reminds us that school is still in session, deadlines loom, and we have three weeks to pack up six years of life in this house before we move it all to a new home. But we are indeed Seattleites because here, no matter what the calendar says or how long the to-do list is, when the sun is out you get outside. We have endured the gray months in order to revel in these sort of evenings where light lingers well passed bedtime and dinner demands to be enjoyed outside.

To-do lists exist and can not be ignored but they can be put on hold for the sake of sinking into an adirondack chair and taking a moment to simply enjoy the day rather than slog through it one check mark at a time. I, for one, will take any chance I can get to cook dinner over a fire while enjoying a cold glass of rosé in the sun. Especially when dinner is a very herby lamb burger capped with a grilled tomato, arugula plucked from the garden, whipped feta, and a soft bun. These are the meals and moments that power the to-do lists.

Spring Lamb Burger with Whipped Feta // Not Without Salt Spring Lamb Burger with Whipped Feta // Not Without Salt

The lamb, however lean, is rich, packed with protein and nutrients and earthy in flavor. Lamb and herbs are both champions of spring and when combined into a burger and met with a hot grill it marks the intersection of spring and summer. Which, I might add, makes this a perfect contender for a Memorial Day BBQ. The burger is simply adorned with whipped feta (whipped with olive oil until creamy and light) peppery arugula, and a tomato seared over the grill to encourage sweetness and to create a texture that melts into the burger. This is the sort of burger that calls for a soft bun; a brioche or potato roll are both great contenders.

I do hope that your plans for this holiday weekend teeter more to the side of savoring than that of to-doing.

Spring Lamb Burger with Whipped Feta // Not Without Salt Spring Lamb Burger with Whipped Feta // Not Without Salt

*A hearty thank you to the TRI-LAMB Group for sponsoring this post and thereby giving me the opportunity to create this burger which will become a regular on our summer rotation. Check out their Facebook page or Instagram for more great lamb recipes. As always, the words and the recipe are mine.

Spring Herb Lamb Burgers with Whipped Feta and Grilled Tomato

Serves 4

This recipe is really quite simple and can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. Use whatever mix of fresh herbs you have on hand keeping to mostly the light leafy ones like mint (lamb LOVES mint) parsley, chives, dill, basil, etc.

There’s a bit of olive oil added to meat to tenderize and add in a bit of fat. I love the how lean lamb is but for the grill a bit of fat helps to ensure the burgers stay tender and juicy.

 

8 ounces feta

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound ground lamb

1 cup fresh herbs (such as basil, mint, parsley, and dill), finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large tomato, sliced

4 burger buns

fresh arugula or other leafy green for serving

 

Combine the feta and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor and process until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine the ground lamb, fresh herbs, garlic, kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix well.

Form into four 4 ounce patties.

Grill over high heat until cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Remove the burgers from the grill and set aside.

While the burgers rest, brush the tomatoes with the remaining olive oil and place on the grill. Grill until char marks appear and the tomato just starts to soften, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the heat of your grill.

Grill the buns until toasted then spread the whipped feta on both halves. Add the lamb burger then top with a grilled tomato and fresh arugula.

 

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