According to my beautifully designed and superhelpful New York Produce Calendar, June is the best month to enjoy fresh peas. Huzzah! Like other dreaded vegetables from childhood, peas have come a long way from their sad days of hiding under mashed potatoes and getting pushed around on a plate and/or ending up on the floor for the dog.
Peas are now front and center, especially when fresh, in this minty, spicy, early summer salad treat. A breeze to make. A real crowd pleaser. From the always lovely 101 Cookbooks.
Fresh Pea Salad with Mint Date Dressing
via 101 Cookbooks, serves 2-4
1 c. fresh mint leaves
2 dried dates, pitted
1/2 of a small serrano chile, stem removed
squeeze of fresh lemon juice and zest from that lemon
1 1/2 c. fresh peas
1 small head of romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
sea salt & pepper
For the mint-date dressing:
Puree mint, dates, chiles and lemon juice and zest in a food processor. Blend until uniform in texture. Thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water at a time until it is a consistency that you can drizzle. Taste and adjust for lemon and spiciness.
Fill a big bowl with ice water and set aside. Add some salt (as you would pasta water) and the peas. Bring six cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the peas and flash boil, somewhere between 10-20 seconds. You want them just barely tender, so they still pop in your mouth. Quickly drain and dunk the peas in the bowl of ice water.
Just before serving gently toss peas, lettuce, and pumpkin seeds with about half of the dressing and a couple pinches of salt. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Finish with a pinch or two of your favorite finishing salt and pepper.