Shell Peas and Radish Salad


The short version:
Because of the brilliant radishes I've been seeing around town at local markets, I developed a recipe for today's demo that relied on red radishes, but today at the Union Square Greenmarket there was not a red radish in sight. I guess they've had their heyday? Since Thursday? But shell peas were out in abundance and looking quite beautiful. So we made a daikon, arugula, shell pea salad with orange mint. Thanks to Race Farms for having daikon radishes! Also out today-- big excitement-- sweet cherries. So that will be part of my planning for next week.

The long version:
I love salad. And I am starting to get sick of salad. Next week, I'm going for the gusto. I'm making meat.

Now that I have that out of my system, I should say that today's salad was very tasty, and the fresh shelled peas were outstanding. The peas and arugula both came from the Philips Farm stand, and both were very beautiful. The peas were just the right size, not too mature and not too small, and popped easily out of their shells. They were sweet and not starchy at all. I did violate my own rule by purchasing pre-shelled peas to make my life easier, but those were all starch with almost no sweetness. Which just reinforces my own good advice. Always shell your peas just before you eat them. Don't be lazy. Forget the pre-shelled peas.

So the spicy arugula, the sweet peas, and the spicy sweet daikon made a nice combination, with just a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil on top.

The mint was lovely this week again, this time orange mint rather than chocolate. The ladies of Scarborough Fields are forever wowing me with their mint selection. The orange flavor in the orange mint is subtle, but certainly present, and nice with the radish.

I did cheat on the salad a little bit by topping with fleur de sel. It was simple and tasty.

Part of the simplicity of today's demo was facilitated by the generosity of the staff of Luna Park. Luna Park is an open air restaurant right in the park area of Union Square, and they graciously allowed Morella and me to use their kitchen sink. No more trips to the bathroom, no more astonishing people coming out of stalls by scrubbing daikons in the restroom sink. Thank you, Luna Park.

So here is Morella looking happy and relaxed doling out salads:



And me laughing at who knows what, having fun at the Greenmarket:













Fresh Shell Pea and Radish Salad

Peas and mint are a classic summer combination, and in this recipe, the sweetness of summer peas is countered by the earthy spiciness of red radishes.

Recently-picked peas will be the tastiest and the sweetest, because once they are picked, peas loose sweetness as their sugars are gradually converted to starch. The following recipe is best with mint clipped from a growing plant and peas that are shelled just before serving.

Shell Pea and Radish Salad

4 cups fresh greens, such as baby spinach or arugula

½ lb shell peas

2 T mint, sliced in ribbons

4-5 large radishes, sliced thin

squeeze of lemon juice

drizzle of olive oil

course salt

pepper

  1. Shuck peas, tear greens into bite sized pieces, mint, and slice radishes thinly with a knife or mandolin.
  2. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, and add a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Taste salad and add more oil or lemon if necessary. Salad should be lightly coated with oil but not wet.
  4. Divide salad onto four plates and top with mint, course salt, and fresh ground pepper. Optionally, include two croutons on each plate.Makes four servings.

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2 comments:

Andy said...

Robin,
Great site! I still have some shell peas and radishes from our local CSA so I look forward to trying the combination. I found your blog because I started a similar one in May, trying to offer seasonal recipes to my fellow shareholders in our local CSA, Seton Harvest. If you get a chance to check out my blog at seasonaleating.blogspot.com , I would love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

Andy

Robin said...

Hello Andy!

Thank you for the kind words. I looked at your blog, and it's wonderful. I was delighted to see your reference to Larousse Gastronomique, my absolute food bible. It's especially close to my heart because of my training in French cooking.

I look forward to seeing more great food ideas from you, and I'm adding a link to your site.

Yours in seasonal eating,
Robin