Little Meatballs, Fresh Peas, Fennel, Capers, Couscous & Mint
I love fresh peas, straight from the pod- always have, right back to my childhood, when I used to love picking them in our garden in England... such a wonderful sweetness! So I couldn't resist when I saw them in the market hall yesterday! I picked them up, as usual, with absolutely no idea what on earth I was going to do with them...
This evening, after a little drama at home with the neighbors door being broken-in by the fire brigade and police storming the house for a false alarm, things got a little late and I got a little freaked! Frankly, I was just happy that there were no unfortunate discoveries next door... and downright starving! So I went into auto-pilot mode and just started improvising... and this was the result!
To make the little meatballs, I added chopped onion, parsley, mint, Parmesan cheese and not too much bread crumbs, with a little salt, pepper and fennel seed and kneaded everything together lightly, just until it all held together nicely.
The peas I popped, shelled and set to one side and the fennel I cut in half and then into relatively fine slices. I also chopped a little onion and garlic, a handful of fresh mint and parsley... and prepared my couscous, ready for action!
The action began when I popped the meatballs into my non-stick pan and started them sizzling away. As soon as they began to give off their juices and fat, I added the remaining ingredients, except for the couscous of course! That would come just a little bit later!
I seasoned with salt and pepper and stirred everything for 3-4 minutes until the meatballs were slightly brown, then added a couple of handfuls of couscous and deglazed the pan with enough boiling water to cover everything. I stirred everything through nicely and let is simmer away for 1-2 minutes, until all of the water had been absorbed, then checked the seasoning and added salt accordingly and gave it one last little bit of water.
I then added a couple of teaspoons of capers, the remaining parsley and mint, a little squeeze of lemon and a light drizzle of olive oil. Perfect! The mint went so wonderfully with the peas and the meat and the capers and fennel added some lovely depth of flavor... so yes indeed, this was a great way to use those lovely, sweet, fresh garden peas to a lovely effect! A lovely Springtime dish! It hasn't started yet our Springtime- but that's another story!!!