Celebrate Spring with This Savory Sweet Pea and Lemon Panna Cotta

Whether Virginia gives us an actual springtime or not (because #virginia), the official season begins soon, and we're already dreaming of the fresh and colorful that comes with spring. So, of course, that means yummy ideas abound, and vendor fam Pam of The Twisted Fork is leading the way with one of her gorgeous appetizer recipes to inspire you for any at-home celebration. With fresh peas, some lemon zest, and a handful of organic edible flowers, panna cotta gets a savory makeover in Pam's springtime twist on an Italian favorite.

Savory sweet pea and lemon panna cotta for a spring inspired wedding appetizer
How to garnish a savory panna cotta appetizer

Sweet Pea and Lemon Panna Cotta

Serves 4-6 Dishes

One of the things I like to make in the springtime is something fresh and light. I was inspired by the idea of sweet peas and edible flowers that feel like the newness of the season. I took the idea and incorporated it into my standard panna cotta recipe for an amazingly good but savory springtime appetizer that anyone would love. - Pam of The Twisted Fork

• 3/4 cup fresh peas, shelled (about 1 pound with shells)
• 1 cup whole milk plus additional 3 tablespoons
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 cups whipping cream
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 packet of powdered unflavored gelatin
• 1 tablespoon of pistachios, shelled
• Dollops of crème fraîche
• Edible flowers for garnish

Recipe contains dairy with optional garnishing of nuts.

1. On the stove with a small amount of water, sauté fresh shelled peas over medium high heat until just tender or about 5 minutes.

2. Use a food processor or a blender to blend peas, lemon zest, and 1 cup of milk. Pulse until a smooth purée.

3. Pour the purée into a medium saucepan and add cream, sugar, and salt. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally.

4. Add 3 tablespoons of milk to a small bowl and sprinkle the powdered gelatin on top. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

5. In the meantime, use a fine-meshed sieve to strain the pea mixture into a large bowl with a pour spout. Using a wooden spoon, press the contents of the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible.

6. Add the softened gelatin to the bowl of the strained pea mixture and whisk very well until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

7. Pour the mixture evenly into 4 ramekins or small glasses. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

8. When cooled, crush or chop pistachios. Before serving, top each dish with a dollop of crème fraîche, a sprinkle of pistachios, and any fresh edible flowers, if using.

Sweet pea and lemon panna cotta with edible flowers and pistachios
Great spring inspired appetizer for weddings and date nights in by The Twisted Fork
Unique savory panna cotta with sweet peas and lemon zest topped with edible flowers and crushed pistachios
Fresh appetizer ideas using organic sweet peas garnished with edible flowers
Using pistachios as a crunchy garnish for a savory sweet pea panna cotta dish
Sweet pea and lemon panna cotta with creme fraiche and colorful edible flowers

Types of Edible Flowers

Curious to know what kinds of flowers are edible? Try these colorful blooms for your panna cotta! Be sure to only purchase edible flowers that are labeled as edible and meant for eating to avoid floral chemicals and other unhealthy elements that might have come in contact with the blooms.

Pansies: have a mild sweet grassy flavor
Micro Orchids: have a cucumber-melon flavor
Nasturtium: have a peppery flavor
Violas: have a mild tart flavor

You can find fresh edible flowers on Etsy, your local restaurant supply store, or local farmers' markets.

Sweet pea panna cotta for a wedding sweetheart table
Spring inspired sweet pea panna cotta with edible flowers on gray terrazzo coasters
Savory panna cotta for a spring inspired wedding appetizer
Sweet pea and lemon panna cotta with pistachio garnish for a fresh and organic savory wedding appetizer

See Pam's panna cotta in wedding table action in our DIY Hand-Stamped Table Runner feature. It's almost too beautiful to eat in its natural setting! (Almost. It was equally delicious, of course!)

Sips & Bites is Tidewater and Tulle's food and drink series that is focused on beautifully and deliciously inspiring treats for wedding and home celebrations.

Photography: Chelsea LaVere | Recipe, Catering, & Styling: The Twisted Fork | Venue: Jollity and Co. | Plateware: Mad Hatter Vintage Rentals