“Peas are the bell ringing in spring,” says Jeremy Fox in his upcoming book, On Vegetables (Phaidon), scheduled for release this month. Fox, the executive chef at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California, is known for intricate vegetable concoctions, though his simpler dishes are equally impressive.
The chef likes pea shoots for this salad; they’re delicious and widely available in the spring. Stir-fry the stems, include the leaves and reserve the sweet curly tendrils for garnish, as Fox does here. Buy the smallest peas you can find and don’t overcook them: They should pop like caviar.
- 1½ pounds peas in pods (or 2 cups shelled)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- ½ cup pea tendrils or shoots
- 1 packed tablespoon fresh mint chiffonade
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces pecorino romano
Shuck peas, if in pods.
Fill large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
Boil medium pot of well-salted water over high heat. Add peas and reduce heat to medium. Cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer peas to ice water until cool. Drain and spread peas on paper towels. Let peas dry completely.
In medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and shallot. Toss mixture with peas, tendrils and mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide dressed peas among plates. Using vegetable peeler, shave pecorino over top. Finish with more pepper, if desired. Serves 4.
Marisa Cuomo 2015 Furore Bianco (Costa d’Amalfi). “From terraced vineyards overlooking the sea, Falanghina and Biancolella grapes soak up all that sun-kissed sea air,” says Kathryn Coker, wine director for the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants and co-owner of Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica. “This mineral-driven white wine brings out the pecorino while letting the peas be the star.”
The leftover pea pods make a terrific quick stock for soups or risotto. Combine them in a pot with 6 cups water, 1 chopped onion, a handful of parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Strain and reserve.