Green Caviar: Teardrop Peas

At Restaurant Vinkeles, awarded two-Michelin stars, we strive to surprise and enchant our guests with culinary masterpieces by using only best-in-class ingredients of the highest quality. A perfect example of a highly seasonal ingredient would be the extraordinary Guisante Lágrima: teardrop peas.

Often referred to as ‘green caviar’, teardrop peas are among the world’s most time-sensitive and precious vegetables. These small and highly delicate peas are smaller, flatter, and grainier than the widely known garden variety and require an exceptional harvesting process, as the sugars in the peas start converting to starch almost immediately after they’re picked. It is therefore essential to harvest at dawn, to avoid exposure to bright sunlight. Only Spanish growers, mainly from the Basque Country, have mastered the art of harvesting these delicate peas. Although rumor has it that these peas were  firstly cultivated in the palace of Versailles in Paris prior to being exported to Biarritz and only later to Basque Country.

The thin skin of the teardrop peas provides a delightful sensation in the mouth and requires a meticulous hand-picking process. Each pod is individually inspected before being pricked, and the shelling process is often handled by small female hands. Each pea is about 5 mm in size, with 6-8 pearls per pod, amounting to just 60 grams of delicacy per kilogram.

Transport is a race against time. About 60% of the quality is lost after just two days of resting on the vine. Therefore, we ensure that the peas arrive at The Dylan within 24 hours of harvest. This is part of the reason why this ingredient is so precious, with a price tag of up to €800 per kilogram. This limitation creates a close bond between our supplier, the grower, and our Executive Chef, Jurgen van der Zalm.

The taste of these peas is both subtle and explosive, with a spiced undertone and a sweet, salty experience best described as ‘vegetal freshness.’  Jurgen firmly believes in minimal processing to bring out the purest flavor of this incredible ingredient.

Jurgen: ‘to me, the golden rule is that the process of cooking should be limited to a matter of seconds , we therefore hang the peas over a charcoal grill for a few seconds, accentuating their natural aromas and adding a touch of smoke. This gives them an even deeper, creamier, and more intense flavor.’

The culinary team at Restaurant Vinkeles have created a celebration of Spanish flavors by accompanying  the delicate peas with a tartare of Gamba Roja, fig leaf oil, and a powerful reduced suquet. The combination of the sweetness of the prawns, the richness of the broth and the crunchy, creamy touch of the teardrop peas creates a very elegant and refined dish. Topped with Imperial caviar, which adds an extra layer of luxury and depth to the dish, a beautiful harmony of exceptional ingredients is created.

RED PRAWN
Imperial caviar, teardrop peas, basil, suquet, fig leaf

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As a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Dylan offers the opportunity joining Leaders Club, a remarkably uncommon loyalty program.

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