PEAS, PEAS, PEAS

ENGLISH PEAS, SNOW PEAS, SUGAR SNAP PEAS.  THE FARMERS' MARKET IS BURSTING WITH THEM.  THEY'RE POPPING UP ON MENUS ALL OVER L.A.  DELICIOUS BOTH COOKED AND RAW, BUT NEVER OVER-COOKED LEST THEY LOSE THEIR DAZZLE, THEIR POP, THEIR SPRINGTIME CRUNCH.  I'VE BEEN FOLDING ENGLISH PEAS INTO PASTA DISHES AND RISOTTOS AT THE LAST MINUTE, BOILING SUGAR SNAPS WITH A COUPLE OF INCHES OF WATER AND A HUNK OF BUTTER, WOKKING SNOW PEAS WITH GARLIC, FRESH GINGER AND A SPLASH OF SESAME OIL.  THIS SALAD, WHICH INCORPORATES ALL THREE, WAS INSPIRED BY STEVE KALT, THE CHEF-OWNER OF SPARTINA, WHO ROASTS THEM BRIEFLY AT HIGH HEAT THEN TOSSES THEM WITH PEA TENDRILS IN A LIGHT, LEMONY DRESSING.  I ELABORATED  ON HIS CREATION, ADDING GRILLED APRICOTS AND ROASTED HAZELNUTS.  WITH NO PEA TENDRILS IN SIGHT, I SUBSTITUTED FRISÉE LETTUCE, ALTHOUGH IF I MAKE IT AGAIN, I'D OPT FOR ARUGULA.  BOTH ARE BITTER. THEY BALANCE THE INTENSE ALMOST HEADY GREENNESS OF THE PEAS AND THE SWEET-SOUR BITE OF THE APRICOTS.  

 ¾ lb SUGAR SNAP PEAS
 ¾ lb SNOW PEAS
 ¾ cup SHELLED ENGLISH PEAS
 6 APRICOTS
 1 LARGE SHALLOT
 3 tbsp FRESH LEMON JUICE
 1 tbsp CHAMPAGNE VINEGAR
  cup HAZELNUT OIL
  cup AVOCADO OIL
  cup SKINNED HAZELNUTS
 ½ cup FRESH TARRAGON
 BALSAMIC VINEGAR OR SABA
1

SHELL THE ENGLISH PEAS. PULL OFF THE STEMS AND STRINGS FROM THE SUGAR SNAP PEAS. PULL STEMS OFF THE SNOW PEAS. PUT ALL THREE PEAS IN SEPARATE BOWLS.

ADD A LARGE PINCH OF SALT AND SEVERAL GRINDINGS OF PEPPER TO A LARGE BOWL.

TRIM AND PEEL THE SHALLOT. MINCE AND TOSS WITH THE SALT AND PEPPER. LET SIT A FEW MINUTES, THEN WHISK IN THE LEMON JUICE AND VINEGAR. WHISK IN THE HAZELNUT OIL, THEN THE AVOCADO OIL. THE DRESSING SHOULD BE VISCOUS.

CLEAN AND SPIN DRY THE FRISÉE OR ARUGOLA. ROLL IN A DISH TOWEL.

HALVE THE APRICOTS AND ARRANGE THEM CUT SIDE UP IN A SMALL BAKING SHEET. DRIP IN A FEW DROPS OF BALSAMIC VINEGAR OR SABA. SALT LIGHTLY, THEN BROIL UNTIL THE TOPS ARE SLIGHTLY BROWNED. SET ASIDE.

ROAST THE HAZELNUTS AT 350º FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES, SHAKING THE PAN OCCASIONALLY TO TURN THEM. TAKE THEM OUT WHEN THEY ARE A PALE GOLDEN BROWN.

STRIP THE TARRAGON LEAVES OFF THEIR STEMS AND SET ASIDE.

HEAT A WOK OR LARGE FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT.

ADD A SPLASH OF GRAPESEED OR CANOLA OIL. WHEN THE OIL RIPPLES ADD THE SUGAR SNAP PEAS. COOK FOR ABOUT A MINUTE, TOSSING OCCASIONALLY TILL THEY ARE BLISTERED. REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON.

REPEAT THE SAME THING WITH THE SNOW PEAS. REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON.

ADD 1/2 CUP OF WATER TO THE WOK OR PAN. ONCE IT'S BOILING, ADD THE ENGLISH PEAS AND BOIL FOR A MINUTE. REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON.

USING A KNIFE WITH A CURVED BLADE OR A MEZZALUNA ROUGHLY CHOP THE HAZELNUTS. (A CURVED BLADE WON'T SCATTER THE NUTS ALL OVER YOUR WORK SURFACE.)

ROUGHLY CHOP THE TARRAGON LEAVES.

TOSS THE PEAS, FRISÉE, AND TARRAGON WITH THE DRESSING AND DISTRIBUTE ON INDIVIDUAL PLATES. ARRANGE TWO APRICOT HALFS ON TOP OF THE PEAS. SCATTER WITH CHOPPED HAZELNUTS.

SERVES 6

Ingredients

 ¾ lb SUGAR SNAP PEAS
 ¾ lb SNOW PEAS
 ¾ cup SHELLED ENGLISH PEAS
 6 APRICOTS
 1 LARGE SHALLOT
 3 tbsp FRESH LEMON JUICE
 1 tbsp CHAMPAGNE VINEGAR
  cup HAZELNUT OIL
  cup AVOCADO OIL
  cup SKINNED HAZELNUTS
 ½ cup FRESH TARRAGON
 BALSAMIC VINEGAR OR SABA

Directions

1

SHELL THE ENGLISH PEAS. PULL OFF THE STEMS AND STRINGS FROM THE SUGAR SNAP PEAS. PULL STEMS OFF THE SNOW PEAS. PUT ALL THREE PEAS IN SEPARATE BOWLS.

ADD A LARGE PINCH OF SALT AND SEVERAL GRINDINGS OF PEPPER TO A LARGE BOWL.

TRIM AND PEEL THE SHALLOT. MINCE AND TOSS WITH THE SALT AND PEPPER. LET SIT A FEW MINUTES, THEN WHISK IN THE LEMON JUICE AND VINEGAR. WHISK IN THE HAZELNUT OIL, THEN THE AVOCADO OIL. THE DRESSING SHOULD BE VISCOUS.

CLEAN AND SPIN DRY THE FRISÉE OR ARUGOLA. ROLL IN A DISH TOWEL.

HALVE THE APRICOTS AND ARRANGE THEM CUT SIDE UP IN A SMALL BAKING SHEET. DRIP IN A FEW DROPS OF BALSAMIC VINEGAR OR SABA. SALT LIGHTLY, THEN BROIL UNTIL THE TOPS ARE SLIGHTLY BROWNED. SET ASIDE.

ROAST THE HAZELNUTS AT 350º FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES, SHAKING THE PAN OCCASIONALLY TO TURN THEM. TAKE THEM OUT WHEN THEY ARE A PALE GOLDEN BROWN.

STRIP THE TARRAGON LEAVES OFF THEIR STEMS AND SET ASIDE.

HEAT A WOK OR LARGE FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT.

ADD A SPLASH OF GRAPESEED OR CANOLA OIL. WHEN THE OIL RIPPLES ADD THE SUGAR SNAP PEAS. COOK FOR ABOUT A MINUTE, TOSSING OCCASIONALLY TILL THEY ARE BLISTERED. REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON.

REPEAT THE SAME THING WITH THE SNOW PEAS. REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON.

ADD 1/2 CUP OF WATER TO THE WOK OR PAN. ONCE IT'S BOILING, ADD THE ENGLISH PEAS AND BOIL FOR A MINUTE. REMOVE WITH A SLOTTED SPOON.

USING A KNIFE WITH A CURVED BLADE OR A MEZZALUNA ROUGHLY CHOP THE HAZELNUTS. (A CURVED BLADE WON'T SCATTER THE NUTS ALL OVER YOUR WORK SURFACE.)

ROUGHLY CHOP THE TARRAGON LEAVES.

TOSS THE PEAS, FRISÉE, AND TARRAGON WITH THE DRESSING AND DISTRIBUTE ON INDIVIDUAL PLATES. ARRANGE TWO APRICOT HALFS ON TOP OF THE PEAS. SCATTER WITH CHOPPED HAZELNUTS.

SERVES 6

PEAS, PEAS, PEAS
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