The inspiration for this recipe comes from Jenny Chandler, but the use of pigeon peas and the implementation, is all mine. Pigeon Peas have been cultivated for 3500 years apparently, and may have come to the West Indies with the indentured Indian workers around the mid 1800’s. It is such a versatile thing as it can be eaten fresh, as I have used it here, or dried, sprouted, made into a flour, and for all sorts of industrial uses which don’t concern us here.
Pigeon peas are a legume or pulse, have a high level of protein, and grow widely in the Caribbean. The tree is an insignificant “bush” but very prolific. We always had a bush or two growing in our garden while we were growing up but sadly don’t at the moment. I must really right that wrong especially as the flowers attract all sorts of bees and butterflies. I’m sure if you were to ask the average person in the UK to name a West Indian dish, they would name “Rice and Peas” We would make our version using Pigeon Peas.
You could use a different pulse for this recipe such as green lentils suggested by Jenny Chandler. Soak the pigeon peas in lots of fresh water for a minimum of 1 hour. Drain and cook them in unsalted water for about 30 minutes or until they are soft. Drain and allow them to cool.
Serves 4 as a starter, 8 as a dip
300g fresh shelled pigeon peas (or green lentils)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large sprig rosemary, leaves only
3 tbsp capers
100g pitted green olives
4 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice 1 lime
salt and pepper
Once the pigeon peas were ready, I simply added all the ingredients to the saucepan and used a hand blender to save on the washing up. You could of course use the food processor and blitz until smooth.
Use this intensely flavoured tapenade as you would any other: as a spread for crostini, maybe with roasted red peppers on the top, just lavished onto crackers, or like my lunch today, on toasted definitely Not bread, with a salad.