Messenger of Spring
April marks significant changes for us cooks. Green snap peas, crunchy snow peas, tender pea shoots, colorful baby zucchini, tiny pink radishes and pungent Spring onions are followed by earthy morel mushrooms. Local spring vegetables are moving in slowly - I know most of us are ready for a change from root vegetables and heavy menu items. But we have to be a little more patient since they still have a few weeks left before the true locals are arriving such as ramps, fiddlehead ferns, nettles and purslane which are the actual messengers of Spring here in New York. I can’t help it. I feel like a stalk stalker when I hunt after the first slender asparagus stems at the Greenmarket.
(charred spring onions, grilled yellow zucchini, crunchy radish slices with bbq chicken wings)
Following is a salad recipe for crunchy peas and radishes.
Green Snap Peas and Pink Radish Salad
(recipe yields four appetizer portions)
Snap Pea Salad
Sea salt (to taste)
4 cups sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
4 pink radishes
4 cups pea shoots or green pea leafs
1. Trim sugar snap peas (with a small knife cut off ends and pull string from top to bottom of snap peas – discard string – this will remove tough string part from snap pea shell).
2. Prepare a bowl filled with cold water and ice. In a pot (2-quart sized) bring salted water to boil then cook trimmed peas (20 seconds) and transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice water bath (this will stop cooking process and retain bright green color and a crunchy texture).
3. Cut radishes with a vegetable slicer such as a mandolin (1/8-inch thick slices) or a knife.
4. Clean pea shoots in a bowl filled with cool water then dry on kitchen paper towel or in a salad spinner.
Lime & Honey Dressing
1 teaspoon sea salt such as Baline
1 teaspoon honey, such as clover
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 pinches cayenne
5 gratings black peppercorn
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Cut lime in half then juice into a small bowl.
2. Combine lime juice with salt, honey, vinegar, cayenne and pepper then mix with a wire whisk.
3. Poor olive oil slowly into lime/honey mixture constantly mixing with the whisk.
4. In a bowl toss cooked snap peas, radish slices, pea shoots and parsley with some of the dressing, then serve.
Get some green in your food
Following are a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing and bring some vitamins in your life. Add these to some of your favorite recipes…
- Baby spinach tossed with spice steamed cauliflower
- Asparagus give its crunch to pasta tossed with Mangalitsa pork sausage
- Pea shoots and grilled yellow zucchini are an ideal bed for local fish dotted with caramelized spring onions
- Young Scallions simply charred make a terrific match with grilled steak