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Once upon a time, there was something called I Hate Peas – French fries with ridges that you baked in the oven, aimed at kids who wouldn’t eat their vegetables. They supposedly had all the nutrients of peas without whatever it is about peas that apparently some kids don’t like. They didn’t last long, and I (or my mom) was fortunate because I always loved vegetables, including peas.

More recently, a few well-meaning cookbooks gave parents advice on how to sneak vegetables into other foods, like butternut squash in macaroni and cheese, which, to quote Raymond Sokolov, means that “many kids would never know the joy of crusty, traditional mac and cheese.”

In addition to being very familiar with the joy of crusty macaroni and cheese, the pleasure of fresh peas us something that I never want to miss either. They’re sweet, crunchy, and bright-tasting, and during their fleeting season, it’s nice to find a way to highlight them, like in these green pea and radish tartines.

I love peas – always have, always will. And I’m not alone: When I was scooping up shelling peas at the market, I chatted with another guy doing the same, and we talked about how much work they were to prepare. But fresh peas are definitely worth it, we agreed, before we each of us walked away with a big bag of them.

These tartines put fresh peas front and center. There’s expression, or theory, that says, “The easiest solution is the best.” Which goes along with something I’ve learned from French cuisine: You don’t need to do, or add, a whole bunch of stuff to food – just let good ingredients shine. Both seem to apply here; shuck some peas, don’t do too much to them, and let them speak for themselves.

And because I’m so open-minded, other things I’ve learned are that the word tartine, comes from the French word, tartiner, to spread. I’ve also learned the joys and versatility of fresh goat cheese, that I should never be without French breakfast radishes in my kitchen, fresh herbs are better when used abundantly, and that I should always have a loaf of good bread on hand, for toast and impromptu tartines.

This is one of the messiest blog posts I’ve ever done. A while back someone asked me to “Stop using tweezers to place things on plates.” I was a professional cook for a few decades, and now a home cook, but I’ve never used tweezers to place things anywhere. (My tweezers stay in the bathroom, and I’ll spare you a description of what I use them for in there.)

The upside to my tweezerless post is that you have permission to make a mess yourself when you make, and eat, these. Peas will roll, herbs will tumble, oil will drip, toast will char. So just a heads-up that theses aren’t your mother’s tartines, if you mom tried to disguise vegetables, that is. They’re for pea-lovers, like us.

Green Pea and Radish Tartines

You can swap out labneh for the goat cheese. I'd imagine fresh ricotta would work. Because ricotta can be a bit grainy, sometimes it's helpful to beat in a spoonful of cream. If peas aren't in season, fava or edamame beans would fill the bill, or top the tartines, nicely. (To go in a completely other direction, you could top the tartines with sliced tomatoes in place of the peas and radishes, and swap out mayonnaise or aioli for the goat cheese.) Feel free to use any fresh herbs that you like; chives, mint, basil, oregano, tarragon, chervil or thyme, and I think a mix is best. I went heavy on the basil and mint. Be sure to reserve extra herbs and shallots for sprinkling on top.
Servings 2 servings
  • 6 ounces (170g) fresh goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, see headnote
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for the peas and toast
  • kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup (90g) fresh peas
  • 2 slices country-style or levain bread
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 to 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • additional chopped herbs, shallots and olive oil, for finishing the tartines
  • In a small bowl, mash together the goat cheese, herbs, shallots, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare a small bowl of ice water and set aside. Bring a small pot of salted water to a low boil. Drop the peas in the water and cook them for about 45 seconds. (Depending on how big they are, or how fresh, they may take more of less time. I like mine al dente.) Drain the peas and immediately put them in the water to cool. Once cool, drain them again, and toss them in a small bowl with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Toast the slices of bread by brushing one side of them lightly with olive oil. Grill the bread, oil side down, on an outdoor grill or grill pan until golden brown. Turn the bread and grill until the other side is slightly crisp. Remove the breads from the grill and while they're still warm, but cool enough to handle, rub the oil-brushed sides of the breads vigorously with the raw garlic. (If you don't have a grill or grill pan, you can brown the slices of bread on a baking sheet in the oven, using the broiler or high-heat, about 400ºF/200ºC, watching them carefully if you use the broiler.)
  • Smear the garlic-rubbed side of each piece of bread with the goat cheese mixture. Divide the peas over the two slices of bread and press them in lightly. Garnish with sliced radishes and top with additional fresh herbs, shallots, salt and pepper, and a few drips of olive oil here and there.


Storage: The herbed goat cheese mixture can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before using.


    • Marcie

    It’s hard to believe that some idjit criticized you re “tweezers.”

    The chutzpah of it.

    Love from Santa Cruz!

    • Cherri Campbell

    Reading this on the way to work, husband driving. But this looks so delicious I want it right now.

    Love your newsletters. I love peas.Luckily I was one of those kids who loved every vegetable. I am happy sitting down to a big bowl of fresh Brussel sprouts with butter, salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Reading this to husband (also named David), he is the Chef in the family. I am hoping he will make this for lunch one day this week.

    Thanks! All the best, Cherri, Toronto, Canada

    • Roberta

    How do you keep peas from rolling off bread?

      • Cece

      Moosh them into the goat cheese. Open your mouth wide and take a big bite.

        • K

        Thanks David I appreciate you very much !!!!!!!!

      • Brenda

      Keep the bread moving ;)

      • Chris

      I eat my peas with honey,
      I’ve done it all my life;
      It makes the peas taste funny
      But it keeps them on the knife.

      — from my grandmother, who never heard of goat cheese but surely would have liked it.

    • Ella

    Tweezers?? Some people have too much time on their hands!! Peas…how I love those fresh little green pearls of sweetness. I recall as a child my Bubie asking me to shell the peas but when I presented her what remained (after I ate most of them), I was never given that chore again :))) Going to try my own tartines this weekend!!

    • Cece

    Oh, these look like heaven. I’m going to make some today. Nothing is more summery than shelling peas, and mint is the perfect herb to accent their sweetness. Thank you for another delicious idea!

    • Phyllis

    Thanks for referencing and bringing me to that article by Raymond Sokolov. And as for messy – well hasn’t Yotam Ottolenghi made a career out of strewn foods?

    • witloof

    I love peas too! I buy a big bag of them, sit down on a bench in the park next to the green market, split the pods open, and insert them directly into my mouth! I’m afraid I don’t have the self control to get them home, shell them, and cook them.

    • Nadia

    Perfect apéro food. Might have to steal that recipe for my next apero or cooking lesson. Will give you credit obviously. Merci.

    • Taste of France

    Ray is a sweetheart. He deserves a shout-out.
    This combo is mouth-watering. As you say, good, fresh ingredients need nothing more than themselves. Or as the great chef Prosper Montagné put it, to make something good you need great ingredients.

    • Catherine

    My mother outsmarted the four of us. We got a ‘treat’ of a bowl of frozen peas before dinner. I guess we put it in the same category as ice cream, they were sweet and cold.

    Have some fresh sheepsmilk cheese calling out for peas(fresh, not frozen) and radishes.

    • Kiki

    The beauty of this simple and gorgeous soulfood is that you can press the peas into the soft cheese! I can do that subitement, having great bread, mint & basilic in the garden, wonderful radishes and fresh goat’s cheese on the ready, garlic & shallots – all I need are fresh summer peas…. Can’t wait.
    Congrats, as usual, to you for the super-tasty pics, the lovely text, the generosity of sharing. I’m sure your friend was just jealous (the one with the tweezer remark) because your photos look always so inviting. You stay just what and who you are – you’re more than alright with us.

    • Anastasia

    LOL!!! Not only did I not like peas as a child but I definitely would NOT have gone for the “I Hate Peas” either!

    • Dana

    I did this with fava beans when they were in season! I did it with the bread I made from Bread, Toast, Crumbs whos shakshuka bread you highlighted a while back. Yum!!!!

    • johanna

    THE most PERFECT Spring and Summer Sandwich….classic Spring great taste combo…thank you.

    • Nat Bjerke-Harvey

    David this looks delicious! My wife and I love your blog very much, often for its seasonal inspirations, but peas and radishes? We live in northeast Kansas (the rare red state follower I know), but I mean, those delicate legumes and roots were in april right? We picked our last favas 2 weeks ago and are well on to summer squash and tomatoes galore. Its a long cold spring paris way?

    • Valerie

    Wonderful post, David! I love your sense of humor. I will definitely give this recipe a try this summer. I agree with you – fewer ingredients used appropriately make for the best dishes.

    • Elaine Vaughan

    This is a delicious combination – I also made them with Himalayan Yak Cheese! Perfect counterpoint to the sweet peas.

    • Rebecca W

    Loved you on Beat Bobbie Flay tonight.

    • Roy

    We love fresh shell peas too and take every opportunity to eat them during their short season. Lucky for me I bring them home from market and my husband shells them knowing he will be the beneficiary of something wonderful. Most recently it’s been orzo with green garlic, peas, butter and reggiano garnished with chopped parsley. Nursery school food taken to a whole new level.

    • Audrey | Pardon Your French

    Looks delicious! That would be perfect for the “French apero”, such a nice change too.

    • Deborah Levin

    Hi David, I was hoping to comment on your previous Shakshuka post but see you can only the post of the day… Thought I would mention that za’atar is a traditional ingredient for Shakshuka in the middle east. And from what I understand of the origin of the food in Tunisia and then migrated to the Middle East, as well as many other parts of the world, it makes sense that just about any local spice regionally, where it is made can absorb reflect local flavors. My husband living in Israel introduce me to his approach–lots of za’atar and cinnamon along with cumin and typical stew spices. I particularly like the North African cinnamon flavor profile with the Israeli/Lebanese profile.

    • mumimor

    So beautiful, inspiring – and serendipitous! I know a roadside stand where they have the freshest peas, and I just learnt today there is an amazing secret baker right across from that stand (yes a secret baker, how strange is that?). We are definitely having these from now on all the time this summer.
    Kids not eating peas is stranger than a secret baker though, I’ve never met a child who didn’t enjoy sitting in the kitchen eating fresh peas while I cooked.

    • LWood

    I was only given canned peas as a child. I hated them. In fact, I have said, “I will eat anything, except canned peas.” It has taken me a while to recover from that. But I now find the joy in fresh peas. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m now hoping to find peas and fresh goat cheese at the farmers market tomorrow morning.

    • Angela De Marco Manzi

    I made this for my beach club supper on Saturday night. It was off the charts amazing.

    • Gavrielle

    Down with tweezers! A few years ago I went to the “secret” 8-seat restaurant in Vegas é by José Andrés. Everything was fine dining to a mirthful degree (including the course served in a plaster cast of the chef’s hand), and as a result every course was plated in front of us entirely with tweezers. By the end I was so sick of the sight of food being unnecessarily messed about with that it completely changed my dining habits. I dropped fine dining altogether and go entirely for rustic and ethnic now – good ingredients honestly cooked without over-refinement. Or tweezers!

    • Roy

    David, every now and then one of your treats speaks, no, shouts to me. This is one. Made it for a dinner party this last weekend. Hit of The event. Many Thanks

      • Angela De Marco Manzi

      I had the same experience

    • Marbelle

    I just have to say when I saw ths recipe I couldn’t get it outta my head! I couldn’t find fresh sweet peas in ST Louis in Mid July 100degrees plus temps.. However I found a wonderful sub – fresh PEA SPROUTS ( so …where
    did these come from I wonder??) !! OMG I am eating these like crazy!! So so easy and yummy! THANKS!!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I LOVE pea sprouts, but I’ve not seen them in Paris, so usually have them when I go to the U.S. (Chinese restaurants often do a wonderful stir-fry of them, with garlic.) Great idea to make these tartines with them – glad you enjoyed!

        • Barbara

        I do love pea sprouts as well.
        It’s very easy to grow them yourself. Grab a pack of ordinary dried peas in your supermarket and put a handful in a pot full of earth. Put on your balcony, garden or window sill. Don’t forget to water. After about 14-21 days you get wonderful tasty pea sprouts.
        We do that very often during winter, while craving for fresh vegetables.
        Stir fry them is a wonderful idea! Thanks.

          • David
          David Lebovitz

          I love pea shoots but I’ve not been able to find them in Paris. I’ve tried growing things, like herbs, on flower pots, but they all get stolen (as a friend who was staying with me said, “Who the h*ll steals plants?!”), so I’ve had to stop because they keep getting ripped out. But thanks for the tips on growing your own…!

    • Ttrockwood

    This was such perfect timing on your post! I was planning my friend’s baby shower and we decided to serve these- the mom to be is goat cheese adverse so i used this soft fresh mild farmer’s cheese instead. Lots of chopped chives and basil went on top, both grow in the kitchen window. We used the sturdy dense Northern Sea rye bread from Breads bakery here in nyc so these made for a fantastic not too heavy yet filling dish!

    • Garden Goddess

    We had these for dinner last night. Delicious! And I had to sub frozen peas (merely defrosted) for the fresh—even though I said NOT to get Chinese flat pea pods or sugar snap pea pods, just get regular plain peas in the pod. He brought back both the Chinese flat pea pods and the sugar snaps… The frozen ones still tasted good. I’m looking forward to trying the fresh too.

    Oh, when I smeared the herbed cheese on the bread, I turned the bread over and smashed it into the peas so the peas were all in an even layer and they stuck quite well to the bread–way less messy, though the radishes sipped off. Next time I’ll cut the radishes into tiny sticks and mix them with the peas before smashing. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Eileen

    I just CANNOT wait to try this. I have always loved peas as well. I was the one rare kid caught in my grandmother’s garden picking and eating them immediately, so many that I would make myself sick. Thank you for this David. I love your writings and have never been steered wrong when following your recommendations when visiting Paris. Love to you from a fellow Californian!


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