Recipe: Maru Chef Jason Park’s Seared Scallops & English Pea Ravioli

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This week at the Santa Monica Farmers MarketChef Jason Park of the recently reopened restaurant Maru told us that early season English peas were available at McGrath Family Farms.

McGrath Peas - Jason Park & Paul Thurston (1)
Chef Jason Park gets Paul Thurston of McGrath Farms to do the English pea taste test—shelled vs unshelled. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Some of you may remember Chef Park from his popular Ramekin days in Los Feliz, or the original Maru location in Valencia. Drawing from his own unique cultural background of both Korean and Japanese influences, coupled with French culinary traditions learned in cooking school, Maru’s menu boasts a cocktail program designed by Matt Biancaniello and features both ike-jime sushi, as well as more western-style entrees inspired by seasonal farmers market produce like Chef Park’s Seared Scallops and English Pea Ravioli.

A regular at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, Chef Park has a long list of favorite vendors for each of the ingredients that he sources for Maru. From McGrath Family Farms peas to Harry’s Berries strawberries and everything in between, he knows what he likes and has explanations for why he likes the things that he does. Just try engaging him in a conversation about why he’s selected any of his ingredients, and you’ll see.

But perhaps what’s most surprising is his process for making his English Pea Ravioli filling. Rather than simply pulsing whole peas in a mixer (as most of us would probably do), he blanches his peas first to remove each pea skins one-by-one. While this may seem like a painstaking process, we questioned if, in fact, it was actually worth the effort. Chef Park had us do the taste test, of course, and we admit—there was, in fact, a difference in the clarity of flavor and creaminess of texture to his English pea filling.

Clearly, it’s a labor of love.