Green Pea Cilantro Spread Recipe

[Peacamole]

If you’ve been invited to dinner at my house lately, the odds are high that you’ve been greeted with a glass of chilled white wine and a platter of multigrain crackers topped with this bright green spread. “Guacamole?” you may have asked. “No, peacamole!” I’ll have responded, or rather, if you and I speak French together: poicamole*.

I have made and served countless batches of this spread over the past couple of months. It is absolutely not green pea season, though that happy day will come soon enough, but frozen peas have recently become a staple of my cooking wardrobe (why it took me so long to adopt them, I know not), making this a quickly assembled appetizer.

It is a rich-textured spread that’s sweet and earthy from the peas, subtly nutty from the use of almond butter, and livened up by the signature zing of cilantro**. Spread on the spelt crispbreads I buy at the supermarket and can’t get enough of, it makes absolutely irresistible bites. And if I’m lucky and I have leftovers, I pair the peacamole-covered crackers with a beet and carrot salad and a soft-boiled egg for a very good solo lunch.

I initially developed this recipe for ELLE à table, the French cooking magazine in which I write a bimonthly column: it came to illustrate a story in this month’s issue (#63) about the increasingly frequent intersections between the worlds of perfume and cuisine.

One of the examples I give is that of essential oils: these highly concentrated plant extracts have long been used in fragrances and cosmetics, but are now made available in organic, edible versions*** for cooks to use, oh-so-sparingly, in their dishes, emulating the flavor of a fresh spice, fruit, flower, or herb — here, cilantro. (Note that the recipe below includes a variation using fresh cilantro leaves.)

Essential oils are so supercharged that a drop or two is usually plenty, and because oil doesn’t dilute in water, it should be added into the dish along with an oil-like element or liquid sweetener. The flavoring power of essential oils weakens when they’re heated, so they are best added at the very last minute, or used in a no-cook preparation such as this one. If you wish to bake with them, you’ll need to use a little more. Experimentation is the name of the game****, but you should always err on the side of caution; add one drop too many and your dish may be inedible.

As a side discovery, I’ve also found that frozen peas can be steamed in a rice cooker. Who knew? You just place the peas in the bowl, put the lid on, and set it on “cook” for 14 minutes, or until tender. I don’t own a steamer, so I normally steam vegetables using bamboo baskets over a pan of boiling water; this method is simpler, faster and, with my kitchen setup at least, more energy-efficient.

~~~

* A green pea = un petit pois, hence peacamole = poicamole.
** As always, cilantro haters are welcome to use the herb of their choice (flat-leaf parsley, chervil, basil, mint…) instead.
*** Note that essential oils should not be consumed by pregnant or breast-feeding women, young children, or people with allergies.
**** I don’t know of an English-language recipe book that would guide you in these experimentations, but if you read French, you can take a look at Valérie Cupillard‘s book, Cuisiner avec les huiles essentielles (La Plage, 2006).

Green Pea Cilantro Spread Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Total Time: 29 minutes

Makes enough for an appetizer for 4

Green Pea Cilantro Spread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 grams (10 1/2 ounces, 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) shelled green peas, frozen or fresh but not canned
  • 1 drop cilantro essential oil for cooking, or a small bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons whole almond butter (like peanut butter but made with unblanched almonds; look for it at natural foods stores)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • Salt, black pepper

Instructions

  1. Steam the peas for 14 minutes, or until tender, and let cool to just above room temperature.
  2. If you're using fresh cilantro, pluck the leaves and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the peas, almond butter, cilantro (essential oil or fresh leaves), garlic if using, Tabasco sauce, a little salt and some pepper. Process until smooth. If the mixture is a bit too thick for the blade of the food processor to mix properly, add just a little bit of water, a teaspoon at a time, until soft enough to mix.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spread on pieces of multigrain crispbread and serve. The peacamole can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge in an airtight container; it will keep for 2 to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe originally developed for ELLE à table, issue #63, March/April 2009.

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  • http://80breakfasts.blogspot.com joey

    This sounds lovely! If I can’t get almond butter, what would be a good substitute? :) Thanks!

  • legzo

    Hi,

    I just discovered your blog and I’m finding it very interesting. I have a question concerning the crispbreads you mention. Where do you find it in Paris? I saw on the brand website that one could order online but I can’t manage to find where…

    Thanks !
    Julien

  • http://culinarystudio.blogspot.com/ Eddie Howard

    This sounds terrific. Once some more warm weather arrives in NY, I’ll have to give it a try, along with some nicely chilled red wine.

  • http://www.mostlyeating.com Sophie

    Loving your Peacamole recipe. Frozen peas are just the handiest ingredient to have in.

    A really similar recipe is a staple in our house but with a spoonful of grated parmesan instead of your almond butter twist (which I’m look forward to trying out).

    Leftover pea is a great impromptu lunch as you say and also good on toast for breakfast (I love the idea of having eaten a portion of vegetables before even leaving the house in the morning!)

  • http://www.dernieremiette.com Emily (La Derniere Miette)

    I always thought frozen peas were totally underrated, but have never tried them in a spread. This looks so tasty, and the coriander addition sounds perfect for the (imminent) spring weather!

    And I totally agree about bamboo steamers. They are great! Perfect for cooking sticky rice if you have some muslin to line it with too.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Joey – You can use any other mild-flavored nut butter, such as cashew butter. They’re readily available at any natural food store, or you can make your own. Otherwise, you could try using 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons whole almonds, very finely chopped.

    Julien/Legzo – I’ve seen these crispbreads at Naturalia stores, but also in the bio section of my Champion supermarkets, newly renamed Carrefour market, sold under the brand name Carrefour Agir.

  • siobhan

    “Poicamole” sounds so much better than “Peacamole”.

    This looks like a great recipe – I’m looking forward to trying it out soon.

  • http://the-clever-pup.blogspot.com Hazel

    This sound right up my alley. I love fresh peas and coriander.
    I cannot abide frozen peas. I don’t know why.

  • http://the-clever-pup.blogspot.com Hazel

    This sounds right up my alley. I love fresh peas and coriander.
    I cannot abide frozen peas. I don’t know why.

  • http://www.estouest.blog.lemonde.fr est

    a green spread! exactly what i need to match my new skirt. yum!

  • http://www.redfebruary.com Tracey

    I’m intrigued with the idea of cooking the peas in a rice cooker. Do you mean you just put them in the large metal bowl part (and not the plastic steamer that comes with most models)? Do you add any water?
    I can’t wait to try this!

  • http://www.pencilandspoon.blogspot.com Mark

    Fantastic recipe, sounds gorgeous!

  • Shantel

    A recipe like hummus, but with a different legume and butter, no? By coincidence I have been experimenting with hummus lately. It’s (the tail end of) Meyer Lemon season in the U.S. and I have used their juice and zest and omitted the garlic. It goes well with your carrot and beet salad and–I recommend–pumpernickel bread. I bet your peacamole is even better, especially for its color, though at first I thought you meant split peas… Thanks!

  • http://smallkitchenbigideas.wordpress.com Sara

    This sounds delicious. I love peas and will make a pesto with them. A dip with them sounds fantastic.

  • http://http:danamccauley.wordpress.com Dana McCauley

    Great idea! I think some a mint and roasted cumin version would be sensational, too!

  • Mary Peters

    What a revelation – cilantro essential oil (for cooking) – where can I buy this in France (67)? I have terrible trouble buying even the fresh coriander in Alsace!

  • http://cathylwood.wordpress.com Cathy

    Love this! What a wonderful idea for spring. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Tracey – My rice cooker is a very basic one with just the metal bowl, and that’s where I place the frozen peas, with no water. If you were to try it with fresh peas, I’d suggest you add just a little water at the bottom of the bowl because fresh peas have a lower water content.

    Mary – I have this one that can be ordered from Cuisine & Sens — a little pricey but so powerfully fragrant the small bottle will last a long long time. You can also order some from Gérard Perrot’s online shop.

  • http://sweetcilantro.canalblog.com jo_L

    Can I be invited for dinner at your house? I would without any problem do the trip Boston-Paris for the occasion!

    In the meantime, I will try your poicamole. And I agree on the crispbreads, I became addicted to them in Switzerland, and I think I have managed to find them in the US (although in a slightly pricier version). The brand is not the same but the taste is!

  • http://www.cookingupafamily.com Courtney

    this looks wonderful. i will have to make this very soon!

  • Catherine

    Just in time for my “amuse-bouche” for Book Club next week–was at my wits’ end–this is perfect. I love how you discuss what you’re making/doing–can’t wait to meet you in Paris before too long.

  • http://www.cookingwithmichele.blogspot.com Michele Morris

    I actually use peas in my guacamole to make a lightened version of the dish, but one that still has avocado. It was in one of my columns for Buzz in the ‘burbs in Colorado and you can get the recipe on my website – scan down the list to Lightened Classics, Jan 2007.

  • http://nom-nomnom.blogspot.com Reuben Morningchilde

    Fascinating.

  • http://mexmix.blogspot.com Roberto N.

    It does sound much better in French.

  • http://theendivechronicles.com/ Erin

    That looks wonderful! This is the time of year when the lucious green that only a frozen pea can provide begins to pop up in my kitchen. Peacamole it is!

  • http://clovesandcream.com laura

    What an adorable idea! Guacamole is a staple around my house, but I’ve been smitten with bright green peas as of late, so I think it’s time for a peacamole experiment!

    Thanks for sharing that recipe – I’m so anxious to try it out.

  • http://whatilikenyc.blogspot.com Laura

    Oh lovely! What a nice subsitute for spring. I often make a similar thing out of fava beans and garlic and mint over the summer…this is an excellent option in the meantime.

  • Sarabara

    Great post! And if you just add water or broth, this can become pea soup! I made a batch recently after having mistakenly left a bag of frozen peas on the counter. It tastes like spring!

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    J’ai beaucoup aimé ton article sur les parfums dans mon Elle à table qui traverse les frontières pour arriver jusqu’à Munich.

  • http://smelltastelove.blogspot.com Daniela

    Poicamole! C’est trés drôle. Je vais le faire quelque jour… Nomnomnom. :)

  • http://cuisine-a-la-perse.blogspot.com/ mehdi

    Hi Clotilde,

    When fresh peas are in season try this version:

    blend raw peas, mint leaves, god olive oil and Parmesan(or pecorino) cheese.

    Whatever you call it, poicamole or pea pesto or else, cest delicieux!

  • http://coupleofvegans.blogspot.com Jodye

    This spread sounds amazing, and the colors are so vibrant and gorgeous! I’ll definitely be making this soon!

  • http://papillesetpupilles.blogspot.com/ Anne (Papille et Pupilles)

    Coucou Clotilde
    C’est super appétissant et j’aime beaucoup l’idée. Cela doit être succulent.

  • Marthe

    A wonderful English language book
    onthe use of essential oils
    is Aroma, by Mandy Aftel and
    Daniel Patterson, published in
    2004 by Artisan in New York.

  • Margarita

    Clotilde,
    I would not boil the peas for such a long time! I am a big fan of pea soup, and I love the slightly sweet taste the peas have if you boil them for just 5 min!(And it should be enough for them to be soft)
    Regards, m

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Margarita – The peas are not boiled, they are steamed, and the cooking time depends on the variety of peas, how late in the season they were picked, and whether or not they are frozen to begin with, but you should certainly feel free to cook them to your taste.

  • http://parkerink.ca kate Parker

    Thank you Clotilde, this is so beautiful- and I am a huge fan of Cilantro and regularly pick up a bunch from Chinatown (Toronto) just because I cannot resist its fragrance… Come to think of it, perhaps I could buy the essential oil and just dab some behind my ears? Hmmmm…

  • emily

    Hi Clotilde, I am a long time reader and have made many of your recipes. Perfect timing with this one! We had a warm spell last weekend and my cilantro started to go to seed so I made this spread last night to use it up. Delicious!!

  • http://daniellestudiesabroad.blogspot.com Danielle

    This sounds delicious!

  • http://www.labonbonniere.blogspot.com La Bonbonniere

    this looks amazing! so spring-y! I bet it would be good on naan-sort of like the yummy cilantro spread at my favorite indian restaurant here in Connecticut!

    Your blog is amazing! Thank you!

  • http://elisson1.blogspot.com/ Elisson

    Poicamole! Brilliant… I may have to try that.

    Your boulettes d’agneau et pruneaux, BTW, are a great success. Formidable, mademoiselle!

  • http://accidentalparisian.blogspot.com Accidental Parisian

    Sounds great! Not being a huge fan of cilantro (“the soapy herb”), I think I will try it with mint. You can’t go wrong with peas and mint.

  • http://www.unconfidentialcook.com unconfidentialcook

    What an interesting idea, and I’d never have thought of the almond butter. Will give it a try.

  • http://goldilocksfindsmanhattan.blogspot.com/ Ulla

    My boyfriend is Irish and grew up on peas. He would love this!

  • Marie-Sophie

    I love just the idea of trying out this recipe :-) !! Since trying a few of your other recipes (the Brownies and the Wholesome Chocolate Banana Bars), whole almond butter has become a staple in my fridge! So great and versatile – even in salad dressings! I am also thinking about replacing part of the butter in some of the cake recipes I have – Clotilde, do you think that would work ??

    For all the Germans: if you have an “Alnatura” store close to you, they sell whole almond butter from the brand “Rapunzel”. If not, look in health food stores (Reformhäuser), they might have this brand as well!

    And Clotilde,congratulations on this blog! Since having faced some crises in my life, I’ve found that I feel a lot better when cooking “good” food with healthy ingredients! Makes me think that my body is strong enough to cope with anything … and cooking and baking is just good for the soul, too! :-)

    chocolaty hugs from Germany!

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Cath the Canberra Cook

    Sounds fabulous – and I love coriander (aka cilantro).

    Do you use the frozen baby peas or older ones? Do you even get both kinds in France? The phrase “petits pois” springs to mind: is there a “grandes pois” to contrast. (My French is truly horrible, sorry if this is spelt all wrong.)

    I usually keep the frozen baby peas, as they are much sweeter, and IMO very much nicer to eat as a plain steamed veg. The older, larger, ones have a more floury texture. They work better in curries and other longer cooked dishes. Perhaps Hazel who hates frozen peas has only tried this kind??

  • Ellen

    My daughter is allergic to nuts – what could I use to replace the almond butter in this recipe? It looks fantastic!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Cath – The term petits pois doesn’t imply anything about their age or size, but we do have peas that are called extra-fins, which means that they are superior in quality — sweeter and less mealy.

    Ellen – You can try replacing the almond butter with the same amount of plain Greek-style yogurt, or a mix of olive oil and lemon juice. The flavor won’t be the same of course, but it will be good, too.

  • swan

    Sounds like a great, green variation of my other ‘ hummus-like’ spread:

    White peas (from a can or a glass jar, the plain ones, not in tomatosauce!!) blended with chopped garlic and some olive oil and lemon juice, spiced up with chiliflakes or powder…

    Super simple and yummy. Will try this one as well – the parsley version for me….

  • kim

    ‘Poicamole’ is a brilliant name :). I love peas, have a bag of frozen ones in my tiny freezer at all times. I can’t stand cilantro though. Do you think basil would work? Essential basil oil would be great too, I hope it exists as well.

  • Jeiran

    Hi Clotilde,

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and love it.

    Here is the only essential oil cookbook I know of in English if you were curious:

    – The Essential Oil Cookbook by Menkit Prince

    I think the title might have changed for the UK but here is the website.

    – Jeiran

  • http://www.victoriaallman.blogspot.com victoria Allman

    Yum! This will be perfect tomorrow for hors d’oeurves with salmon and brown chewy bread. Thanks for the recipe!

  • http://design-smith.blogspot.com/ design_SMITH

    This sounds delicious! I think I will make for a little gathering I’m having this weekend. I love guac and cilantro.

    I recently rediscovered frozen peas too. I have long been a consumer of frozen green beans and lima beans and will use the corn in soups, but as my budget has tightened and I was getting a bit bored of my options so I bought some peas. The first time I made them, I thought, “Boy these are delicious. Why don’t I eat them more?” I will now make sure I have a bag in the freezer at all times.

    Thanks for another great paring, Clotilde!

  • msue

    Just made the peacamole and wow is it good! I substituted Srarachi sauce for the Tabasco. It provided a good kick, but didn’t overpower the sweetness of the peas. Now my mind is spinning with all sorts of variations.

    We’ll have it tonight with our ‘picnic spread’ with smoked trout, some cheeses, olives, and at least one sliced crisp apple.

    Thanks for the wonderful idea. Yummmy as always!

    :)

  • carl

    Also delicious with fresh fava beans (although I’d substitute parsley, thyme, or savory for the cilantro).

  • http://www.tangoinhereyes.blogspot.com joli

    Essential oils can be fun to use in cooking. I used a drop of coffee essential oil a few times to enhance an otherwise bland and ordinary glass of wine. Thanks for the reminder that I have some Cocoa EO waiting to be used as well!

  • Saskia

    Hello, Clotilde!
    This sounds like a wonderful recipe 8
    Have you ever tried the “new” (like 6 month new) “Garden Peas” from Picard surgelés, and, if yes, what do you think of them ?

  • http://sweetfernhandmade.blogspot.com Kristina

    I don’t know if you’ve read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, but there’s a recipe for green bean pate in there, called Frijole Guacamole. That version calls for prepared mayonaise and hard-cooked eggs, basil, and lemon zest. It’s pretty good, but I’m real intrigued by your version which uses almond butter. Pea season can’t come soon enough!

  • http://www.fiikus.net/?recipes Maija Haavisto

    I made this today, but apparently I had underestimated the amount of cilantro needed, as mine turned slightly bland and I didn’t have any more cilantro to add. Luckily adding some lemon juice solved that. It’s pretty good.

    Only after I had already cleaned the blender I realized I could have added some of my homemade tahini for more flavour.

  • http://essenistfertig.wordpress.com/ Julia

    Cool, peacomole – our next best party hit!:-)

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    What a fabulous idea to use spring peas! Love it! :)

  • Lucy

    It’s funny – in the UK everyone eats frozen peas! (I always have them in stock!!)
    Here in the US it is harder to find the little sweet ones. In the UK the baby ones are called “petit pois” and the older ones are called peas or garden peas perhaps.
    This is a bit confusing for francophones as obviously petit pois just means peas and not the fancier baby ones…
    Perhaps in the UK the marketing folks assume we think of all french things as being fancier! ;o)
    Hope that helps a little!

  • Pablo

    Mandelson’s favourite?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Good one, Pablo! :)

    (See here if you didn’t get the joke.)

  • susan

    I really liked this recipe.
    I made it with frozen peas (did not cook at all) and tahini (organic and medium dark) a whole bunch of coriander and my own rough quantity of peas (not too much not to few). Was very good and easy.
    Have just included it in my lunch. I roasted a sweet potato fried some garlic and kale then added half a tin of tuna and the soft flesh of the potato. Mixed all together and served hot with splodge of green pea cilantro spread. Damn good lunch. Hit the spot.

  • juliette

    wow! made a double batch of this for a family gathering and everyone LOVED it. it was delicious!! thanks so much for the recipe!

  • http://veggiefoodist.blogspot.com/ Bharti

    This sounds wonderful. I ‘m thinking it would make a great sandwich spread as well..perfect for the kiddos school lunch boxes.

  • Adnil

    Yum! I made this over the weekend to take to our nephew’s to eat while playing pinochle. They wanted to try it before dinner and we ended up finishing it. Omigosh! It was wonderful. I LOVE that vibrant green, not to mention the ease in making it. It’s a keeper. Merci beaucoup!

  • http://serveitforth.blogspot.com/ Kim

    I am on a cleanse, so can only eat certain foods, including almond butter. I found this recipe, rejoiced, and have made it 3 times in the past 2 weeks … it’s my new go-to snack. Fabulous!

  • http://fineeats.blogspot.com michaela

    i’ve been on a frozen pea kick lately as well. love them in pasta with pesto from the freezer!

  • adnil

    Wow! This has become a bigger hit than I could ever expect. I’ve made it 4 times since my last posting and can’t get enough. Thinking of other things to serve it on to accommodate my celiac friends. Crisp, cold jicama makes a nice combination. I think I will carve ‘spoons’ out of jicama and serve it as an amuse bouche. Thanks again, Clotilde.

  • http://affairsofliving.blogspot.com Kim

    Yum! I love pea dips – I’ve made something very similar in the past with peas, cashew butter, and a bit of dill. Very tasty! Thanks for sharing – the name “poicamole” is the best part!

  • Marie

    I love the name peacamole! And the recipe sounds awesome… I need to go out an buy some almond butter. Or maybe I’ll just try it with the tahini I have at home.

    After I read this post, I couldn’t get the name peacamole out of my head. Not just the word peacamole – but the word peacamole to the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah! :-)

  • pratibha

    This is Green Pea chutney – we make it all the time in India as a accompaniment to lots of dishes – as a stuffing in Samosas, puris, dosas, as well as to eat with savouries called Namkeens!
    the recipe : fresg Green peas, salt, roasted cumin, tamarind pulp( if using jaggery) / lemon if using sugar for souring, bright green chilly, cilantro and some roasted peanuts / a tbsp of dessicated coconut, sugar / jaggery.
    Gring with very little water ( about 1Tbsp)
    Good to go by itself as a dip or stuffing!
    For those with nut allergy’s, drop the peanuts and subsittute coconut or even sesame( go easy. 1 Tbsp of white sesame goes a looong way!)
    And oh yes, this makes a fabulous baked samosa too!

  • Jacqueline

    Yum! Just made this for a party and it was fabulous. I actually forgot to re-check the recipe before going to the grocery store, so instead of almond butter my mind decided we should use soft goat cheese. I’m going to try with the almond butter too, but the goat’s milk cheese was by no means a bad idea!

  • http://sugarsugarcoconut.typepad.com Shannon Bills

    I have a new obsession, your blog. I am always looking for inspiration, as I am a baker, and cook myself, and your blog has been bringing me this each day since I subscribed to your post. I wake anxious to read each post. Waiting for your cookbook to arrive soon, and off to get ingredients for your peacomole tomorrow. You are such a fun read. Cheers!

  • Chester

    Hi Clotilde! I just wanted to mention that this recipe is better news than you realize: If you eat raw cilantro, it chelates heavy metals (binds with them and escorts them out of the body) This is such a great way to detox! Yum!

  • http://bakeology101.blogspot.com/ Kartik @ Bakeology 101

    Clotilde, brilliant dish – I have so much cilantro lying around from cooking Indian food that I don’t know what to do with it sometimes. And it’s very healthy with the peas – I’m excited to try this out.

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