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Smashed Pea and Mozzarella Crostini

These Smashed Pea and Mozzarella Crostini are a deliciously different and impressive appetizer that’s quick, easy, absolutely bursting with fresh flavor, and perfect for summer!

Friends, I have just two words for you: Try these! The combination of peas, fresh mozzarella cheese, garlic, lemon, mint, and olive oil is amazing!

So the mostly cooler and somewhat dreary weather we’ve had here so far this summer has slowed down our garden some, and everything is a bit behind schedule.

But we were finally able to pick our first batch of fresh peas this week, and I’m so excited to enjoy them! Just look at these gorgeous little gems of deliciousness (yep, I’m just like a proud mama sharing pictures of her babies)…

a bowl of fresh peas with a few pea pods on the side, one of them opened up so you can see the peas inside

As soon as we plant our peas, I start getting cravings for my favorite Classic Creamy Pea Salad. It’s so good and absolutely incredible with fresh peas right out of the pod, and it was – of course – the first thing I made.

But there are so many more peas left to use!

Sure, I’ll freeze a bunch of them to use later. But it’s hard to beat the flavor of just-picked peas, so David started looking for new pea recipes to try, and he came across one called Peas on Toast over at Great British Chefs.

We tried it and could not believe how delicious it was…so wonderfully fresh! It was just too good not to share, and so this recipe is a slight adaptation of that one.

I did make a few changes – like quickly blanching the peas to make them easier to smash, adding some crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, and putting them on little pieces of toasted baguette instead of large pieces of bread – but the basic flavors are all there.

And guess what? If you don’t have any fresh peas on hand, no worries. You can totally make this recipe using thawed frozen peas and it will still be fabulous (yes, I tried it)!

a bowl of smashed peas and mozzarella on a cutting board with pieces of baguette toast and a spoon on the side

Ingredients you need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • French baguette
  • Fresh peas (or thawed frozen peas)
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh mint (not peppermint…totally different flavor)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Be sure to use fresh mozzarella cheese, the kind that is usually packed in water and often found near the specialty cheeses in the grocery store. You want that soft, creamy texture.

The firmer mozzarella in the dairy aisle that you would grate for topping pizza is much different and not what you want here.

Here’s a look at how to make Smashed Pea and Mozzarella Crostini:

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one of toasted baguette slices on a baking sheet with text that says toast the bread under the broiler until lightly crisp and golden; the other of peas in a pot of boiling water with text that says blanch fresh peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes
2 images; one of the peas in a colander under running water with text that says drain peas and run under cold water until cool, drain and pat dry; the other of the peas being smashed with a fork in a bowl with other ingredients with text taht says place peas, garlic, lemon, mint, pepper flakes and olive oil in a bowl, smash peas with a fork
2 images; one of mozzarella cheese being stirred into the bowl with the pea mixture with text that says stir in the mozzarella cheese, season with salt and pepper; the other of the assembled crostini on a plate with text that says spoon the pea mixture onto the toasted bread, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • Toast the bread just until it is crisp on the outside but still a little soft and chewy on the inside so that it doesn’t crumble apart when you take a bite.
  • A quick 2-minute blanch is all you need to soften the peas just a bit while maintaining that fresh-picked flavor and keeping them vibrantly green. Don’t cook them any longer than that.
  • To use frozen peas, skip the blanching step and just thaw them out (I run them under cool water for a few minutes). Pat them dry, and they’re good to go.
  • I smash the peas just enough so that there are no whole peas to go rolling off the toasts (rather than mashing them into a paste). You can always smash them more if you’d like.
  • Adjust the amount of crushed red pepper flakes (or omit them) depending on the heat level you want.
  • Crumbled feta cheese instead of mozzarella would be a nice variation.
  • This should be made fresh right before or very soon before you eat it. If you make it too far in advance, you risk the pea mixture getting soggy, and the mozzarella will start to break down.
  • I like to serve this with the pea mixture in a bowl with a spoon and the toasts on the side so everyone can make their own fresh crostini. This keeps the toasts from getting soggy.
    • If you want to serve them already assembled, top the toasts right before you serve them.
a hand holding up a piece of smashed pea and mozzarella crostini with the bowl of smashed peas and toasted bread in the background

Instead of an appetizer, you can easily turn this into a light lunch or supper by putting the pea mixture on larger pieces of toasted bread.

In fact, the first time I tried this recipe, we actually ate it for breakfast. I toasted two larger pieces of ciabatta bread, put half of the pea mixture on each one, and served it with some fried eggs on the side for a wonderful summer breakfast that rivaled my favorite avocado toast!

I hope you try this Smashed Pea and Mozzarella Crostini recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Appetizer Recipes You Might Like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

six smashed pea and mozzarella crostini on a white plate

Smashed Pea and Mozzarella Crostini

These Smashed Pea and Mozzarella Crostini are a deliciously different and impressive appetizer that's quick, easy, absolutely bursting with fresh flavor, and perfect for summer!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Servings: 12 crostini
Estimated Calories: 65

Ingredients

  • 12 slices crusty French baguette, about ½ inch thick (I like to slice my bread on an angle for a prettier presentation and slightly larger pieces)
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas, thawed frozen peas can also be used, see note below for instructions
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, about ½ a lemon's worth
  • tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about ½ a lemon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint, not peppermint
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, pulled apart into small (about ½ inch) pieces
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Place the bread slices on a baking sheet; broil for a minute or two on each side just until they are lightly golden brown and crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside (this will keep them from crumbling apart when you bite into them). Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove (I use a 3-quart pot with about 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt).
    To use your time most efficiently, prep your other ingredients while you are waiting for the water to boil.
  • Add the fresh peas to the boiling water. Wait for the water to come back to a boil and then cook the peas for 2 minutes (don't cook them any longer than that; you just want to slightly soften them so that they are easier to smash while retaining that fresh-picked flavor and vibrant green color).
  • Immediately drain the peas in a colander and rinse them under cold water until they are completely cooled. Place them on a clean kitchen towel or a plate lined with paper towels and pat them dry with paper towels so your topping doesn't end up watery.
  • Place the peas in a medium bowl along with the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, crushed red pepper flakes (if using), and olive oil.
  • Using a fork, mash the peas just until they have broken down a bit and there are no more round whole peas that would roll off the crostini (I'm not going for a paste here, although you could mash them more if you'd rather).
  • Add the mozzarella cheese and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon the pea mixture onto the toasted bread; enjoy immediately!

Notes

  • To make with thawed frozen peas: skip the blanching step, pat the thawed peas dry with paper towels, and proceed with the recipe. I thaw my peas by running them under cool water rather than heating them to keep them as fresh tasting and green as possible.
  • I don’t recommend making this in advance, as you risk the pea mixture getting soggy and the mozzarella will start to break down. Make it fresh right before or very soon before you are going to eat it. 
  • I like to serve this with the pea mixture in a bowl with a spoon and the toasts on the side so everyone can make their own fresh crostini. This keeps the toasts from getting soggy. If you want to serve them already assembled, top the toasts right before you serve them.
  • Instead of an appetizer, you can easily turn this into a light lunch or supper (or even breakfast!) by putting the pea mixture on larger pieces of toasted bread.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
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