Fresh Pea, Cheese and Herb Salad
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)
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.
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 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!