|For Lindsey Dickson of The Eating Tree our marrowfat peas evoke memories of her feisty Yorkshire Grandmother. Here Lindsey uses them to make tasty spinach and pea cakes - perfect for a light lunch.
I have called these ‘cakes’ rather than fritters or patties as they are bigger than the average fritter, one is just the right size for a light lunch, especially if served in my favourite way with a perfectly cooked poached egg, a few peppery salad leaves from the garden and a little garlic mayonnaise.
Marrowfat peas always remind me of my Grandmother, a feisty little white haired Yorkshire lady who brought up fourteen children in a tiny house with an outside loo, no bathroom and an old blackened range to cook on. My father still reminisces about her cooking, his tales of bread cakes cooling on the kitchen windowsill, kale soup, the best ever Yorkshire puddings and meat and potato pies have been passed down to me with fond affection. When we used to visit she always cooked a huge saucepan of marrowfat peas, perfectly soft and mushy, the typical Yorkshire ‘mushy pea’ we all know and love.
Back down South, my mother tried on many occasions to replicate the softness of these peas and although my father used to smile graciously, we all knew they were never quite the same as Grandma Lily’s. No matter how much Bicarbonate of Soda my mother added, that smooth mushy texture always eluded her and it was not until just a few years ago that I was able to tell her it was nothing to do with her cooking but something as simple as she used the wrong water.
I still live in a hard water area today in East Anglia so I use filtered water to cook dried peas. In this particular recipe I boil them for 10 minutes then simmer for about 75 mins although this will probably vary slightly from kitchen to kitchen.
Makes 5 Cakes
Great served with an egg (as shown in the picture)!
- 250g Hodmedod's Dried Marrowfat Peas, cooked according to instructions
- 1 Small Shallot, roughly chopped
- 30g Butter
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 50g Fresh Spinach (uncooked)
- Leaves from 2-3 Springs of Fresh Thyme
- 30g Parmesan Cheese Grated
- 1 Egg plus 1 Egg for coating
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Approx. 120g Quick Cook Polenta
- Sunflower Oil for Frying
- Put the peas, shallot, butter, lemon juice, spinach, thyme, parmesan and one egg into a food processor.
- Season with salt and liberally with black pepper.
- Process until combined, but not totally smooth, there should still be some peas visible.
- Using your hands, shape the mixture into cakes, about 2cm thick and 8cm in diameter (think of a good sized fish cake.)
- Leave to rest for an hour. Don’t be tempted to skip this step otherwise the cake may fall apart when cooking.
- Beat the other egg in a flattish bowl, big enough to accommodate the cakes.
- Sprinkle the polenta onto a separate plate.
- Coat each cake with egg then polenta.
- Put enough sunflower oil into a large heavy based frying pan so that it comes about 1cm up the sides.
- Heat the oil until a little piece of eggy polenta dropped in sizzles immediately. Do not have the heat too high as the polenta will burn before the cake is cooked through.
- Fry the cakes for about 8 mins, turning every 2-3 minutes. They are very well behaved and should turn over easily using a wide spatula or fish slice.
- Carefully lift out onto a sheet of kitchen paper. Serve warm.
Lindsey is a traditional cook who cares about the food she eats and shares with her family and friends in Suffolk. A great supporter of home cooking using fresh ingredients and local produce, she shares her recipes and stories about her life with food on her excellent blog The Eating Tree.
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