Fresh Pea, Cheese and Herb Salad

June 4, 2010

Pea Salad Ingredients

Everytime I look at the picture above, I think what a perfect metaphor it is for life. At least mine. It's got shadows. It's got color. Texture. Spice. Flavor. It's got old parts and it's got new ones. It's got roundness and it's got angles. It's good in so many different ways. Everyday we put things in a pot and try to make them work. Sometimes the pot gets too full and tilts over. Most times, my attempts at making things right result in pretty good things. Literally. This Fresh Pea Salad being one of them.

I got these gorgeous peas during the early days of the farmers market, shelled them and froze them. I was still undecided as to what their fate would be but I could not pass on this much freshness in a pod. It's been a month now that I have taken a still life of them for the French Word A Week feature but I just did not want to post a shot of a peas in bowl and run off the page.

Like a bunch of petit pois running off my plate.(click on word to hear the pronunciation)

Fresh Peas & Goat Cheese Salad

I think that I like saying "petit pois" as much as I like pomme de terre or pamplemousse. The word just jumps on your tongue before jumping on your plate. I told you. Little things make me insanely happy. The muffled sound of beer being poured in a glass, the shattering of the sugar crust on a creme caramel. The pop that little peas make between my teeth.

Forget what the calendar reads, it's Summer here already. With this heat, there isn't a day without a salad. A big bowl with fresh ingredients from the farmers market thrown in together. They don't have to match. They just have to play well with one another.

This salad is perfect as a side dish whether you use fresh or frozen peas, and lends itself to enough variations it can make your head spin. It's best served lukewarm with its sauteed onion and garlic and you can skip the cheese on top of need be. The first batch we had was actually just peas, salt and pepper and plenty of fresh herbs from the garden. It made a refreshing, light and easy side to a grilled piece of salmon on a warm and humid evening.

Fresh Local Peas

We also turned it into lunch by adding fresh cheese I made the day I did faisselle, a poached egg and a piece of bread. I thought B. would ask where was the meat but it turned out to be satisfying just as it was on yet another scorching day. I used a basic recipe for paneer to make the fresh cheese but you can substitute any soft variety that you like or pick a harder cheese like parmesan (or skip it altogether). We like ours with a chiffonade of basil and oregano but the choice is yours. The possibilities are only limited by what's not around pretty much.

I am really tempted to morph it into something similar to what Sean posted the other day: a snap pea, radish and mint salad. Hmmm....

One more thing before you ump on to the recipe:
Congratulations to Katie G. - lucky winner of the Evo 10 conference pass. See you in Utah!

Fresh Peas & Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Pea, Herb and Cheese Salad:

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
2 cups freshly shelled peas (use frozen if you have to)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup fresh cheese (I used this recipe for paneer)
salt and pepper to taste
freshly chopped basil and oregano (or whatever you like instead)
splash of balsamic vinegar and oil (roughly 2 teaspoons each)

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, heat the oil and sautee the onion and garlic until translucent. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil in large stock pot and cook the peas until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain them from the water, rinse under cold water and drain well.
In a large bowl, combine the peas, onion, garlic, fresh cheese, salt, pepper and the herbs. Mix until combined and add a few splashes of vinegar and olive oil. You're set!


Le P'tit Coin Francais:

Salade de petit pois et fromage frais:

1/2 oignon, coupe en des
2-3 gousses d'ail, emincees
120gr-150gr de fromage frais (recette ici)
1 litre d'eau
500gr de petit pois (sans ecosses)
sel et poivre
basilic et origan (ou autre)
1 cc huile
1 cc vinaigre balsamique

Dans une grande poele, faire revenir l'oignon et l'ail jusqu'a ce qu'ils soit translucide. Mettre de cote.
Dans une grande casserole, porter l'eau a ebullition et faire y cuire les petits pois pendant 5 minutes. Les passer sous l'eau froide et laisser bien egoutter.
Dans un grand saladier, melanger l'oignon, l'ail, les petits pois, le fromage frais, sel, poivre et ajouter un peu d'huile et vinaigre. C'est pret!


Barbara said...

Helene, I look at your photos, and I so wish I could go to Colorado to learn from you and Jen and White on Rice.

K and S said...

love fresh peas, this salad looks so good!

maybelle's mom said...

i think that pamplemousse post was one of my favorites of yours--pamplemousse is my favorite french word though I also have always like sanglier. and i love what you said about photo metaphors for life, so true.

this free bird said...

This looks fantastic. Will be making this weekend. Thanks so much!

♥peachkins♥ said...

I love your photos!

The Peach Kitchen
blowing peachkisses
peach and things

Asha @ FSK said...

Agree with you.. the first photo wonderfully captures the essence of life.. beautiful! :)

Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

Thank you, Helen! I am so excited!

The peas look beautiful...we just used up the last of our garden's sugar snap peas. The plants have slowed producing, almost to a halt, and are starting to dry because it is so warm now. We are still getting snow peas though and I have a big bag waiting in the fridge for me.

See you soon! :)

El said...

The top photo is my favorite photo of yours. It's very rich, expressive and artful.

Jessica said...

So fresh and delicious. Beautiful!

La cuisine des 3 soeurs said...

Avec cette cuisson courte, les pois restent croquants. Je n'aurais pas pensé à une salade, mais cela me changera de mon habituel velouté.

Sirius73 said...

Wow - I was so distracted by these great pictures that it took me several minutes to realize that this recipe will be perfect for tonight's barbecue. Thanks! :-)

Nina Timm said...

I love that first picture...almost an anticipation of what's to come!!!

Retro Chic Cooking said...

How perfect for the warm weather! I have not seen fresh peas for awhile now. I wish I had bought them all while they were available and frozen them as you did. Beautiful photos.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos and delicious recipe, simple and very tasty.
Thank you!!!

Kalyn Denny said...

This sounds fantastic! There's nothing like fresh peas; I remember sneaking them from the garden when I was a kid.

Posh Helen Bakes said...

This recipe looks absolutely delicious and perfect for a summers day. Fresh peas are amazing, no wonder you froze them whilst you decided on a recipe for them!

Zurin said...

I'd just like to tell you that the fotos are absolutely gorgeous.The words beautiful n gorgeous slipped past my lips incessantly as I admired them..the light is perfect, the colours striking and I loved the textures in the first foto ..totally calming yet arresting.tq

Jennifer Davick said...

Salut Helene, your work is so beautiful. I would love to do a project together. I don't often get to Charleston because there are so many fabulous photographers already there. However, I propose we make an excuse to meet :)

Emily Adamson said...

Gorgeous! And so happy both you and Molly from Orangette have given your readers permission to use *gasp* frozen peas! I'll be picking up more in my freezer aisle since my peas haven't even popped up out of the ground yet!

Abby said...

I took years and years of French in high school and college. I love all the memories you're conjuring with these beautiful words! Petit pois and potiron were always two of my favorites.

What a beautiful, simple, flavorful dish.

test it comm said...

What a nice way to celebrate summer with this tasty fresh pea salad!

Engineer Baker said...

Oh how lovely! And that's what I adore about the French language - so many words are such fun to say! Makes me want to go back and take more classes so I can actually speak a little French again :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love fresh, colorful food and this salad is a perfect example for that - beautiful, Helen!

a. maren said...

PEAS!! i love this time of year! what a great use of peas.

jenious said...

"They don't have to match. They just have to play well with one another." - Such a true and lovely sentiment.

Maria said...

Pea pods are my favorite, love your photos for this post.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous looking salad! I just love peas fresh from the garden, I can see myself making this in a few weeks when the peas are ready for picking. Just go out to the back yard, pick some herbs and some peas, get some cheese from the fridge... perfect lazy summer recipe.

Doreen Frost said...

Good gracious...this site is absolutely fantastic..I could spend days here!!! Such stunning photo's and perfect recipes.

Thank you..I will be back again and again!!!

Valérie I♥Cakes said...

C'est vraiment sympa de faire découvrir des mots français à tes lecteurs étrangers ! Et puis avec de si jolies photos ils vont forcément les retenir :o)

Paula said...

oh, I think that I`ll do this this weekend :)

Momgateway said...

stunning pictures and mouthwatering food...first thing in the morning...I'll be htinking of them the whole day

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

I'm not a lover of peas, but I think this recipe could make me think otherwise. This is just lovely!

kellypea said...

Mmm...peas. I need absolutely no convincing.

Taz said...

amazing pictures, I especially like the close up of the peas in a pod. I haven't had fresh peas for pears, I think I'll go hunt some down!

vanessa joie said...

Yum yum YUM. I just bought a handful of fresh peas and I can't wait to try it.

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