That’s not a typo! English peas are in the shops and here are my favourite pea recipes with whiskies to match. If you pod fresh peas you get about 300g peas from 1kg. Of course you can use defrosted frozen peas for all these recipes. However, sweet freshly picked peas are very special and these recipes showcase them perfectly. Click the images to get downloadable recipes.
A Watercress & pea roulade sounds like a dish that will keep you in the kitchen all day - but it is really easy and quick to make and wonderfully impressive to serve! It’s all about the sweetness of the peas and the pepper from the watercress, and so I would recommend the Scapa 16yo (about £60/70cl) whisky as a match. Although quite complex and warming the whisky complements the cress and seasons the sweetness of the peas. This is the principle malt in Ballantines blended whisky, and I think it is really good with many foods. What do you think?
Pea cornbread is a slightly sweet bake and great for this time of year, for handing round at BBQ’s and for serving with salads, dips or sausages. It is also amazingly good with quite spicy BBQ or tomato sauces and, of course, with fresh salsas. I was drawn to a bourbon to put with this but have decided on Michter’s No 1 Unblended American Whisky (about £52/70cl) - this is a firm favourite with my Chichester’s Whisky Women club. It is made from corn, rye and barley and I love the way there is pepper and then vanilla in the mouth in the neat whisky and a slight toffee to the nose. If you want a long drink add dry ginger and enjoy it with the cornbread.
Green pea soup is just as tasty chilled as hot and has the most deliciously fresh, sweet flavour. Despite the mint, which isn’t a hook for whisky, I have chosen to match it with The Aultmore 12yo (about £42/70cl). I have used this before with foods as I find it herbaceously fresh, almost with green olive notes when neat, but it softens out into a most attractive and well balanced lighter whisky with just a little water. The pepperiness released by the water echoes the seasoning of the soup: perfect!
This New potato, pea and cheese curry is always a favourite at demonstrations - I think mainly because it is so simple to make! It is very clean in flavour: again slightly sweet from the peas and very creamy from the melting cheese. It is not hot in a spicy sense, but it has a well balanced flavour. It might seem just too easy to match it to Paul John’s Brilliance (about £39/70cl) but this Goan whisky is perfect with it. Pepper and vanilla in a whisky with a new Speyside style, this is recommended to complement the oily richness of salmon. Here that flavour-matching ability takes on the creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness of the peas and the resulting match is excellent. Is that your Saturday night menu sorted?!
Now, the tricky question of which whisky I would recommend as the one you might buy to go with all four dishes? It is a difficult, but I am plumping for the Michter’s No 1 American Whisky. Why? Well, there is a slight sweetness about it - I think mainly from the corn - and that will pick out the peas in every one of these dishes. I recommend the recipes - and that you give at least one of these whiskies a try!
I buy most of my whisky on the internet from The Whisky Exchange.