Today is my first post for The Food Network’s #Summer Fest, a celebration of the prolific produce during the warm weather. Today we are sharing recipes that focus on peas, one of my favorite vegetables, and I’ve got a doozy of a recipe for you!
I knew I wanted to create something that would not only highlight the beauty of fresh peas that are in the markets right now, but that could be put together fairly quickly and that would work for summer picnics and hot evening meals. With that on my mind, I hit the market looking for the freshest ingredients!
I came home and put this together in less than an hour including creating the recipe! You will have no trouble repeating it and can take a couple of shortcuts (like using frozen peas and prepared salad dressing) that will take this down to under 30 minutes!!
I started out focusing on all green vegetables and then saw the gorgeous radishes. Whoa! Those would add beautiful color and a peppery flavor that would enhance the fresh peas. Combined with the fresh lemon thyme in my garden and we have the beginnings of a great salad!
The next thing that caught my eye were bags of adorable mini red, yellow, and blue potatoes – perfect for the 4th of July!! Adding these gives this salad more bulk and takes it to the level of a main course option. If you are looking for a vegetarian dish for picnics, potlucks or dinner parties, this is a winner any time of the year.
If you have never cooked fresh peas you are in for a treat. They are a lot of fun to “unzip” the pods ~ perfect for your kids to help with. Pinch the flowering end and pull it back, removing the string with it. This opens up the pod and then just poke your thumb inside, pushing the peas out with one stroke. You will get about 1 cup of peas for each pound of pea pods.
And don’t throw the pods away. Rinse them and use them with other vegetable trimmings to make vegetable stock! Every time you are cooking, save all the veggie scraps and store them in a bag in the freezer. When you have a lot, put them all in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until you have a flavorful stock. Strain out the solids, cool the broth, and freeze it in plastic bags laid flat on a baking sheet. Voila! Vegetable stock in easy-to-stack bags!
The lemon vinaigrette is one of my favorites and the perfect accompaniment to delicately flavored ingredients. You can add shallots, garlic, or fresh herbs of your choosing to change it for another meal. It adds just the right brightness to take this salad from ordinary to sublime!
The bacon was a last minute decision, but isn’t everything better with bacon?! Actually, the small bites of salty goodness really helps balance the flavors and rounds everything out. I used a high quality gluten-free bacon with a lot of smokiness. The perfect accent to finish off this salad.
I know you are going to love the fresh, bright flavor and colors of this salad. It would be a perfect addition to your Fourth of July picnic because it can be made ahead and served at room temperature. Have fun and enjoy the wonderful summer weather!
Have a wonderful Wednesday my friends!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
While this recipe was designed to highlight the beauty of fresh peas, you can certainly use frozen and make this all year long. Just cut back on the cooking time accordingly.
This salad is naturally gluten-free if you use all fresh ingredients and buy gluten-free bacon. Beware of prepared salad dressings they often have hidden sources of gluten.
Pea, Potato and Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
© 2013 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: about 4 servings
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas (from about 2 lb peas in pods)
1 cup chopped fresh asparagus (from about 1/2 bunch)
2 cups miniature red, white and blue potatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 large shallot, minced
4 to 5 radishes, trimmed and minced
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped bacon (gluten-free if needed; leave out for vegetarian)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of granulated sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Prepare the Salad: Pour the shelled peas into a saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a low boil and cook until the peas are tender but still have a little bite to them, about 5 to 10 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, bring water to a boil and cook 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peas to a large bowl and set aside. Add the asparagus to the same hot water and cook until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to transfer to the same bowl as the peas.
Empty the saucepan and refill with fresh water. Add the potatoes and a healthy amount of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 8 to 10 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the potato cubes. Cook until a sharp knife pierces the potatoes easily. Drain and add potatoes to the peas and asparagus. Add the shallots, radishes and thyme and toss to combine.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp and browned. Transfer to a paper towel-covered plate to drain thoroughly. Add to the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
Make the Vinaigrette: Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid. Put the lid on the jar and shake hard until it emulsifies. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Pour 2 to 3 tbsp of the vinaigrette over the top of the salad and toss until everything is evenly coated with the dressing. Add more dressing if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve at room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to several days.
Create a New Tradition Today!
Make sure you check out all the delicious recipes from these other very talented bloggers:
Dishin & Dishes: Smashed Pea Bruschetta with Mint
Feed Me Phoebe: Sweet Pea and Green Onion Soup
Taste With the Eyes: Peas and Pasta with a Garlicky Yogurt Sauce and Smoky Walnuts
Weelicious: Peas and Pasta
Devour: Quick Salad with Peas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta with Spring Peas, Mushrooms and Greens
Red or Green?: Szechuan Spring Peas, Asparagus, Pine Nuts and Brown Rice Salad
Blue Apron Blog: Sweet Corn & Pea Fritters with Pea Tendril Salad
Pinch My Salt: Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole
Domesticate Me: Clean Out Fridge Frittata
Virtually Homemade: Summer Lasagna with Skinny Alfredo Sauce
The Sensitive Epicure: Pea Puree with Roasted Salmon and Chives
Daily*Dishin: Marinated Spring Pea Salad
FN Dish: Favorite Shelled Pea Sides
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