A SPECIAL PREVIEW FROM "AT HOME WITH UMAMI" | 2015 • Ryland, Peters & SmallMy grandmother used to make me peas with pancetta as a side dish. She used sludgy-green petit pois from a tin, but it also works with frozen petit pois. In my mind tiny tinned peas make this recipe infinitely more delicious, though! Ham and peas are a classic combination and this simple dish is a perfect illustration of ‘umami synergy’ where the sweetness of the onions and peas combine with the salty pancetta to prove that magic umami formula 1+1 = 8, that is to say that when skilfully combined, umami-containing ingredients can boost each other to give you six extra flavour points. Eggs also contain umami, so the flavour maths on this is undeniable.
1 glug olive oil
100 g/3½ oz. cubed pancetta or bacon, chopped into strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
425 g / 15 oz. frozen or tinned petit pois peas
100 ml / 7 tablespoons chicken stock
1 sprig of mint, leaves only
4 UK large / US extra large eggs at room temperature
1 fresh mint sprig, leaves only, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet and sauté the pancetta or bacon.
- When cooked through, add the onion slices and garlic.
- Sauté until the onion begins to colour and the pancetta or bacon begins to crisp up.
- Add the peas to the pan with the stock and the mint, season with a little black pepper and leave to cook on a low heat with the lid on until most of the stock has evaporated.
- Adjust the seasoning if necessary and set aside.
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the eggs and time for 6–7 minutes, as you want them gooey in the middle.
- Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water to stop them from cooking any more.
- Peel the eggs and slice them in half lengthways.
- Season the eggs with a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper and place on top of the warm peas.
- Serve immediately.