Spring Chopped Salad with Peas
Peas, used in cuisines the world over, come in a variety of forms. This recipe combines common garden peas with sugar snap peas for a fresh, crisp, appetizing salad. It is dressed with a tart mustard vinaigrette which gives it, to quote the chefs at Crossroads Restaurant in Los Angeles, “texture and bite.” I have served this simple, colorful salad, topped with goat or feta cheese, accompanied by ham biscuits, as a main course. Delicious and nutritious, packed with antioxidants!
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed and halved lengthwise
4 radishes, thinly sliced on mandoline
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on diagonal
1/2 cup celery leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
Pea tendrils, for garnish
Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes. Blanch the peas in the boiling water for about 30 seconds; they will become tender very quickly and maintain their nutrients best with the least amount of cooking. Drain the peas and plunge them into the ice bath to shock them–i.e., stop the cooking process and cool them quickly; this procedure also sets the vibrant green color. Drain the peas again and put in a mixing bowl. Add the snap peas, radishes, celery, celery leaves, and parsley. (I have also tossed in other herbs on occasion. Mint, rosemary, and summer savory are all good choices.) Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette, season with sea salt and pepper, and gently toss to coat the vegetables. Divide the salad among chilled plates and top with pea tendrils, the delicate top shoots of young pea plants.
Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette (3/4 cups)
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons agave nectar (may substitute honey or maple syrup)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the mustard, shallot, vinegar, agave, and oil in a small mixing bowl or Mason jar and season with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake vigorously to blend. Leftover vinaigrette may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Crossroads Restaurant, Scott Jones and Sarafina Magnussen, 2015