350 gmfresh garden peas, shelled1pink grapefruit16blanched almonds, left whole or cut in halves or quarters lengthways40 gmlightly salted butter2 tbspvirgin olive oilFlowersfrom 2 small thyme sprigsTo season:fleur de sel or salt of your choice
Peel the grapefruit, removing as much of the pith and core as possible. With a small sharp knife, free the grapefruit segments by cutting along the sections of membrane and letting the segments and juices fall away on to a plate. Cut the segments into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.
In a sauté pan with sloping sides, or in a saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil over low heat. Stir in the thyme flowers and peas. Cover with water to a depth of about 4cm. Simmer the peas, stirring frequently, until the water evaporates and the peas are cooked to an al dente stage (about 11 minutes).
Meanwhile, have ready 4 warm soup bowls and the almonds: you can leave the almonds whole or, if you prefer, cut them lengthways into halves or quarters. Season the cooked peas with salt and discard the thyme flowers. Divide the peas between the soup bowls. Arrange the grapefruit segments on top, distribute the almonds and serve straightaway.
Note Here, we are in a situation approaching fantasy. Certainly, when we bring together garden peas and pink grapefruit, we verge on culinary improbability. Yet, in agreeing to a rendezvous, the two accomplices lead us to an unexpected pleasure garden, heavy with the scent of fresh thyme. The addition of almonds offsets the slightly astringent note of this partnership, and offers some deliciously playful bite.
This recipe is from the September 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
The Art of Cooking with Vegetables by Alain Passard is published by Frances Lincoln and distributed by Thames and Hudson (hbk, $39.95). The recipes here have been reproduced with minor GT style changes.