This is a lovely dish to serve with grilled pita bread, either alongside a couple of other mezze, while you have a drink before supper, or as an appetizer in its own right, or as a light lunch with a good salad on the side. In the summer, please use fresh peas; at all other times of year the wondrous frozen pea will do. You can make this dish in advance, put it in the fridge, and bring it back to room temperature when you want it.
2 1/4 pounds peas in the pod, or 1 1/2 cups frozen organic peas or petit pois
2 to 4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
1/2 pound sheep's-milk feta, drained
1/2 pound Greek-style yogurt
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced with a little coarse salt
a bunch of scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
a large handful of mint leaves, shredded
juice of 1 lemon
coarse salt and black pepper
1. If using fresh peas, shell them and cook briefly in boiling water until al dente, then drain well and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and crush them coarsely with a potato masher.
If you are using frozen peas, blanch them briefly, drain exceptionally well, and crush before adding the oil, pouring off any more excess water at this stage; add the oil bit by bit and less liberally.
2. Mash the feta and yogurt together in a shallow bowl. While the peas are still hot, add the feta and toss to combine. This is all about texture, not smoothness, as for a dip.
3. Add the minced garlic. Now add the scallions and 2 tablespoons shredded mint. Stir in the juice of half a lemon to start with. season with pepper and a little salt, if you think it is needed; feta is pretty salty. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice, mint, or olive oil if you like.
4. Serve in a shallow dish with a mound of warm, grilled pita bread.
Reprinted with permission from Supper for a Song: Creative Comfort Food for the Resourceful Cook by Tamasin Day-Lewis. Copyright 2010, Rizzoli.
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