For a while I've been debating what to call this dish. It's basically a pea purée softly set with gelatin and topped with various bits of yumminess. The problem is Set Pea Purée is not exactly the most inspiring of names so I've been trying to come up with something a bit better. Naming dishes is far more complicated than you'd think.
A: go all minimalist and just list the principle ingredients, a tactic practised by Marcus Wareing and other Michelin Starred chefs?
Pea, Crab, Lemon Curd, Olive
B: go all French and try and make it sound fancy?
Verrine de petits pois et sa couronne de crabe
C: Use inverted commas to try and make it sound like something similar?
Pea 'Pannacotta' with crab, lemon curd, olive and grapefruit
D: Brand it and flower it up with some poetic hyperpole and alliteration?
Pete's Perfect Pea Explosion
E: Do something completely different?
The answer, my friends, is E. And lo! The pea wobble was born.
The ingredient combination may seem a bit 'out there' but trust me they work well together and stimulate different areas of the tongue. The pea base, creamy and rich with butter and cream, offers a luxurious smoothness to the palate. The crab topping is brought to life by zingy grapefruit, sweet and sour lemon curd, salty olives and aromatic coriander. Try other combinations on a similar theme, a passionfruit curd instead of lemon curd for example, or some flaked salted cod instead of crab. Add some pea shoots and borage flowers on top for added colour, and for texture some crispy chicken skin would be terrific.
Although this is a starter, you could serve this as a canapé, in small shot glasses or on chinese spoons.
Pea Wobble with Crab, Lemon Curd, Black Olive, Grapefruit and Marigold
300ml chicken stock
350g fresh peas
100g unsalted butter
20g caster sugar
50ml double cream
2 sheets gelatine
200g white crab meat, cleaned and picked
4 tsp pitted black olives, finely diced
4 pink grapefruit segments, finely diced
4 tsp lemon curd
4 tsp cooked peas
Coriander leaf to garnish
To make the pea ‘wobble’, heat the chicken stock in a pan and when boiling, pour in the peas. After 4-5 minutes, taste the peas and if soft transfer to the jug of a blender along with the stock. Blitz well.
Place the gelatin leaf in a bowl of water to soften. Pass the blended peas through a sieve back into the pan. Add the sugar and butter and warm to melt the butter. When the gelatin is soft, squeeze out the water and add to the pea mixture, stirring well. When the gelatin has been stirred in and butter melted, remove from the heat and add the cream. Taste and add salt to adjust the taste. Allow to cool slightly before pouring through a sieve into a jug and then into 4 serving glasses. Place on a tray and in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.
When the pea wobbles have a firm enough surface to place the crab topping on, remove them from the fridge. Carefully place a layer of the crab onto the surface of the pea wobble. Dot the olive, grapefruit and peas evenly all over the crab, then add a few small drops of lemon curd. Garnish with small coriander leaves.