Early summer salad with fresh peas and green beans
You can create your own version of this salad by using different types of tender leaves — arugula, baby chard, baby spinach, lamb’s lettuce — and varying the herbs. If you’re lucky enough to find chives in flower, use them. It adds a delightful touch.
As for the peas, you may substitute frozen peas if fresh are not available. Do this only as a last resort, however, as the freshness of the ingredients is what gives this salad its charm.
1/2 pound (200 g.) fresh peas, unshelled
1/4 pound (100 g.) fresh green beans
1 tsp. sea salt or table salt
1 bowl ice water (see below)
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls arugula or mixed tender leaves
fresh chives and another fresh herb (dill, cilantro, basil)
Shell the peas and snip the ends off the beans. If using frozen peas, measure out about 2/3 cup.
Bring one quart of water to a boil. Add the salt. Add the beans and cook about 4 minutes. Add the peas and cook one minute more.
While the veggies are cooking, half-fill a bowl with water and add several ice cubes.
Drain the beans and peas through a colander and immediately plunge them into the ice water. This will allow them to retain a little crunch and, especially, their bright green color.
Peel the onion, cut in half lengthwise, cut the halves crosswise, and slice thinly. Peel the garlic clove and slice in half lengthwise.
In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. Stir well to emulsify. Add the garlic halves.
When ready to serve, drain the peas and beans and pat dry. Remove the garlic halves from the sauce and discard. Place the arugula or mixed tender leaves in a shallow serving dish. Add the peas and beans. Sprinkle with the sliced onions, and top with whole chives and the other herbs.
Drizzle the sauce over the salad just before serving. Serves 2 generously.