Fresh peas are one of the highlights of spring, whether you’re growing them yourself or picking them up at the farmers’ market. Here, they take center stage on a simple puff pastry tart, accompanied by fresh herbs and creamy ricotta cheese. Each 1 lb. of whole English pea pods yields about 1 cup of shelled peas. Shell peas just before cooking them in order to keep them from drying out.
English Pea & Ricotta Tart
8-by-10-inch rectangle of frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
1 1/3 cups shelled English peas
1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint, plus small whole leaves for garnish
1 tsp. minced lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 green onions, trimmed and very thinly sliced on the diagonal
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
Pea shoots for garnish (optional)
Preheat an oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the puff pastry on the prepared baking sheet and bake until puffed, 10 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with a sheet of parchment paper and another baking sheet. Continue baking until golden and crisp, 10 to 13 minutes more. Remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper and let the pastry cool.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse briefly under cold running water. Reserve 1/3 cup of the peas. In a food processor, combine the remaining peas, the ricotta and 1 Tbs. of the chopped mint and process to make a chunky puree. Stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, the remaining 2 Tbs. chopped mint, the green onions and the reserved peas. Season with salt and lemon juice. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the pastry and top with the parsley mixture. Garnish with whole mint leaves and pea shoots. Cut into pieces and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.