the soothing of shelling April 9, 2012

It’s one of my favorite spring sights and it’s a sure sign of the season – the first English peas at the farmer’s market. Everything here is happening early. We’ve catapulted into almost summer. The neighborhood markets are starting a few weeks early to accommodate the produce that’s shooting out of the ground. Spring produce is competing with the first tomatoes on the vine…and this is all at the beginning of April. Seeing the mounds of pea pods – wedged between snap peas and beautiful corn and – is something that makes me shut my eyes and sigh happily. The sweetness and the soothing of shelling peas over a bowl, turning your nails green but you just don’t care. It’s worth it. Spring is here and all the bounty that comes with it.

While a bag of frozen peas rests in my freezer year round and get thrown into soups and casseroles and instant noodles and such, fresh peas get treated with kid gloves. They need nothing but a bit of a flash in boiling water, a bit of a douse in some cold to keep them frisky and a tiny amount of fussing with. I’ve had a chilled pea soup rattling around in my head but, in the meantime as I wait for that recipe to show itself, I wanted to make something that celebrated the sweet crunch and pop of these first peas. Some radish for crunch and color, flecks of salty cheese and some toasted nuts stirred together with a simple lemon vinaigrette. A couple chunks of crusty bread and short glasses of wine…and you have a perfect salad to celebrate the onset of Spring.

Spring Pea & Radish Salad – serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

  • 4 cups shelled fresh English/green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw radishes – about 10-12 radishes depending on size
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds – if you’d rather use hazelnuts, they’d be great here too
  • juice of 2 large lemons
  • 2 tbsp. great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces crumbly Parmesan cheese, broken up into small chunks with the tip of a knife
  • kosher or sea salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

– Bring a medium stock/soup pot full of water to a boil. Throw in the peas and allow to cook just until the peas are floating at the top. Drain into a colander and then either rinse with cold water or plunge into a bowl of ice water just to stop the cooking process. Drain again and allow to sit in the colander while you put the other salad elements together.

– In a large mixing bowl, combine the radishes and almonds. Add in the drained peas and stir to combine. Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil and stir again to coat thoroughly. Toss in the Parmesan cheese and taste – you can add kosher salt and pepper to taste depending on the saltiness of your cheese. Serve immediately – this salad is lovely at room temperature.

Thanks to my good friend Tony Clark for taking the photos in this post – it’s quite nice to cook and style and not have to worry about the photos, too.


Miss T Apr 9, 2012 10:04 pm

beautiful. I cant stop eating them fresh from the shell. Out of season here.

Brian Apr 9, 2012 11:04 pm

Both the styling and photography are fabulous ;-) But even better is this recipe. I can’t wait to make this!

marla Apr 10, 2012 12:04 am

Stunning + bright salad :)

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen Apr 10, 2012 01:04 am

I love love fresh peas. My favorite is just roasting them in a wok with little salt with the pod. Then pop the seed! This looks utterly gorgeous.

Lynn Apr 10, 2012 05:04 am

I used to love shelling peas or snapping green beans with my grandmother on her porch or in the back yard with my mother. Hmmm – off to think about getting some of those peas.

Sarah (Thyme) Apr 10, 2012 08:04 am

Beautiful. You’ve inspired me to get up this Saturday and get to the farmer’s market.

Suzi Apr 10, 2012 04:04 pm

What a lovely soothing post. Beautiful salad, bright, healthy and looks like spring.

kale @ tastes good to me! Apr 10, 2012 07:04 pm

Your friend did a great job; the photos are gorgeous! The colors really pop. And that basket of peas! So cute. Cute as peas in a … I’ll stop before the groan. ;)

Betty Bake Apr 11, 2012 06:04 am

what a beautiful dish that your peas are in! and stunning styling well done
turquoise is such a pretty colour

Betty Bake x

Kiran @ Apr 11, 2012 10:04 pm

Fresh peas are the best this time of the year — I love how simple and rustic this salad feels :)

myfudo Apr 12, 2012 07:04 am

I never had pea salad before…This looks really refreshing.

Erika Apr 12, 2012 09:04 am

Beautiful photos. Brings back childhood memories of sitting on the porch helping my grandmother snap peas.

Tickled Red Apr 13, 2012 10:04 am

Isn’t this early spring just lovely! It has me in the best mood ever, and I’m loving all of the fresh veggies from the garden. This sounds amazing, wish I had a bowl with me at work for lunch today. {{hugs}} ;D

Sara Grace Apr 15, 2012 04:04 pm

beautiful photos & styling!
I love fresh peas!!

Paula- bell'alimento Apr 16, 2012 10:04 am

Those are the most beautiful peas I have ever seen.

Sihi Apr 16, 2012 02:04 pm

Oh! I could just eat the peas right from the picture! Beautiful. Beautiful.

Magic of Spice Apr 16, 2012 06:04 pm

Absolutely delightful salad!

Marina Apr 19, 2012 03:04 am

OH YES. We are not there yet in Denmark, but boy do I long towards the taste. Thanks for almost letting me taste the spring.

Russell at Chasing Delicious Apr 19, 2012 10:04 am

I am loving the colors and brightness in these shots. And this dish sounds scrumptious!

Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet Apr 26, 2012 08:04 pm

Sounds like a simple and delicious side dish. I love fresh peas. Not sure I’ve ever tried them with a little lemon juice. Sounds good!

Nicole Franzen Apr 29, 2012 08:04 am

I love this, so fresh and vibrant.

Lucy@acookandherbooks May 16, 2012 08:05 pm

Lovely salad. And I’m crazy about that dish…

Edith Mar 6, 2013 10:03 am

Isn’t it strange that fresh peas taste so different to the frozen ones? As if it was a different vegetable altogether! I’m so much looking forward to the fresh peas from the garden. Maybe I’ll put them in tomorrow, or is it too early?

E Tarif Aug 30, 2013 10:08 am

I like peas but I have never tried to eat them raw or never put them in salad after boiling them. However, this sounds good recipe, I will give a try to it.

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