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Author Notes: The local farmer had fresh peas this morning, and the urge came upon me to buy a half pound to shell for lunch. I always have a salad, and so I thought about how I would work my peas into my weekday salad ritual. I decided to make a salad rendition of Petits Pois ala Francaise, plus shaved cheese.
As I shelled the peas, memories came back to me in a flood. I remembered shelling mounds of peas, as a five year old, for Saturday or Sunday dinners at our resort. I had help, of course, from a waitress or two, since the time spent only guaranteed a serving spoonful of peas for each guest.
Using a half pound of peas is the perfect amount to mix with a half head of romaine lettuce. I cook the peas until they are al dente, so there is a little bite to the peas and they do not turn mushy. —Bevi
For the Salad
- 1/2 pound peas, before shelling
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce, either chopped or halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, shaved
- 2 scallions
- pinches sea salt
- a sliver of butter, salted or unsalted
For the Salad Dressing
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 1/6) cup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
- Place the shelled peas in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Salt lightly. Cook for about 2 minutes on medium high heat, so the peas are cooked but still retain a little resistance to the bite. Drain the peas, place in the salad bowl, and immediately add the sliver of butter. Swirl and let sit.
- Chop the scallions and shave the cheese. Set the cheese aside, but stir the onions into the buttered peas. (NOTE: Prepared this way, these peas are pretty darn good, and will make a great dish on their own.)
- Make the salad dressing. Pour the lemon juice into a measuring cup. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix with a whisk.
- Add the chopped romaine to the salad bowl. Then, add only about half or less of the salad dressing, and toss. Taste. You probably have enough dressing, and you can save the rest for another salad. Add the cheese for a final toss.
- As an alternate presentation, you can plate a lengthwise wedge of the romaine, add the peas, sprinkle with the cheese, and dribble some salad dressing on top.