I love the idea of challenging myself to see how many ways I can take a single recipe and stretch the imagination, putting the spread to work in different configurations. During the holiday season I spooned the spread onto a platter and used the back of a spoon to form it into a star or a Christmas tree. But wouldn't it be silly to serve something formed into a Christmas tree in the steamy hot month of August?
Instead, those peas and pistachios whispered into my ear that they yearned for romance. So I turned them into the leaves of a tall, stately coconut palm tree swaying in the tropical breeze. And for the ripe coconuts in the tree, I used Kalamata olives. Here's the dynamic summertime presentation I came up with.
If you're a shoot-from-the-hip, last-minute cook, you'll be glad you have this zesty starter in your recipe file. Just remember to thaw the peas and you'll have this appetizer on the table in 5 minutes flat. Just add the crackers.
ASIAN PEA-PISTACHIO BUTTER
Yield: about 1 1/4 cups (300 ml); 5 to 6 servings
1/2 cup (120 ml) roasted pistachios
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons tamari
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon 5-spice powder
1 whole radish, radish slices, or radish rose