Recipe: Salt Air’s Pea Toast

Give peas a chance.

The recently opened Salt Air—the latest from restaurant impresario David Reiss—is the new Abbot Kinney hot spot. Reiss, the man behind Roy Choi’s A-Frame and Sunny Spot and Jason Travi’s Littlefork has installed a Jean-Georges alum in the kitchen. Chef Greg A. Daniels hails from New York’s Perry St., but he’s already sussed out the best local produce for his creations. The dish that is on everyone’s lips right now is his Pea Toast. This spicy and sweet pea purée boasts the textural and flavorful vibrancy of the highly seasonal vegetable offset by a sweet caramelized onion jam and bright white ricotta cheese. Hated peas since childhood? You’ll be won over by this green giant.

Pea Toast
By Greg A. Daniels, Executive Chef, Salt Air

Makes 10 servings

Pea Mash:
1 bag (1 pound) frozen petite peas, thaw with cold water and drain thoroughly
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 small jalapeno, stem removed

Caramelized onions:
6 large vidalia onions, peeled and sliced thin
Olive oil to coat pan
4 teaspoons kosher salt

To assemble:
16 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup blanched sugar snap peas
4 ounces pea leaves
1 loaf (13×6) crusty sourdough bread, cut on a bias in 1/2 inch slices

1. Make the pea mash: Lightly oil jalapeño and roast in 450º F oven until blistered and slightly charred.
2. Combine half of peas and all other ingredients in a food processor and puree (do not add water, it will come together).
3. Add remainder of peas and pulse a few times to achieve a coarse mash.
4. Make the caramelized onions: Heat olive oil just below smoking. Add all other ingredients. Lower heat to medium and stir frequently, avoiding over-caramelization. Cook until deep golden brown; it should have a jam-like consistency.
5. Assemble: Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.
6. Pre-toast in a 450F oven. Bread should take on color but not dry out in the center.
7. Top slices with ricotta, caramelized onion and mashed peas. Toast once again in oven until crispy and warm.
8. Cut into 4 pieces, garnish with blanched sugar snap peas and pea leaves on top.
9. Finish with a drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt.