Vernick’s Pea Butter Toast with Bacon

Spring came late this year, so we couldn’t have been more ready for all the flavors of spring, including peas and mint. When we acquired a basket of English peas from Culton Organics at Headhouse Farmers’ Market last weekend, I had such a backlog of recipes to try using peas and mint, I wasn’t sure where to start. I ended up deciding to try this Pea Butter and Bacon Toast recipe via Greg Vernick, chef of one of our favorite Philadelphia restaurants. One of the joys of Vernick‘s menu is the variety of toasts, so it was fun to try this recipe at home.

The pea butter consists of 1 cup peas, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons cream cheese (I didn’t have any cream cheese on hand so I used Leonora goat cheese), 10 fresh mint leaves, and a sprinkle of salt and cayenne pepper. I pureed this with a stick immersion blender.

I sliced 4 thick pieces of bread from a loaf of sourdough from one of our local bakeries, drizzled each slice with olive oil, then broiled on 2 minutes each side. Then I slathered each slice with the pea butter and additional whole peas, and topped with a few slices of lamb bacon, which we had picked up from Border Springs Farm in Reading Terminal Market. These went back into the oven until the bacon started to render. For me this was about 5 minutes, but I am paranoid about using the broiler, having seen a kitchen fire resulting from broiling bacon, so I kept the toast on the middle rack so it was not too close to the broiler. Either way I made sure to keep a very close eye on it with the oven light on.

We topped the toast with more fresh mint and served. Two slices each turned out to be a filling meal! The flavors were fresh and delightful, and just what we needed to put winter behind us.