Cook 500g of peas for 4-5 minutes in boiling, lightly salted water. Drain in a colander and leave to cool under cold running water. Tip the peas into a food processor, add 40g of butter and process to a thick, smooth paste. Do not overprocess. Transfer to a mixing bowl and chill.
Once the mixture is cold, beat 2 egg yolks lightly and stir in thoroughly, then mix in 5 tbsp of fine, dry breadcrumbs and 1 small tsp of wasabi paste.
Put a couple of large handfuls of dried breadcrumbs – about 70g – in a shallow dish. In a second dish, beat 2 eggs – just enough to mix the whites and yolks. Shape the pea mixture into six small, round cakes (easiest done with lightly floured hands), then press them, one at a time, first into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs and place them on a tray or baking sheet. Chill for 20 minutes.
Make a herb sauce by stirring together 1 heaped tbsp each of chopped mint, parsley and basil with 200ml of plain, unstrained yoghurt. Add a small, finely mashed clove of garlic and a twist of black pepper.
Warm a thin layer of olive or groundnut oil in a shallow pan that doesn’t stick, then lower in the pea cakes and cook for 4 or 5 minutes over a moderate heat, until the crumbs outside are crisp and golden. Serve immediately, while still hot, with the herb sauce. Makes 6-9, depending on their size. Serves 2-3
You really don’t need much wasabi paste here. The point is to lend a little warmth to the peas, so I start with no more than a teaspoon. Used with care, wasabi is a gentle and welcome seasoning, but can easily overpower the sweet peas, so I proceed with caution.
You could omit the wasabi and stir in a handful of the chopped mint, parsley and basil instead.
Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

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