Sugar Snap Pea Salad

snap pea salad
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Snap out of the winter drudgery with chef Stephen Oxaal’s recipe for snap pea salad. The crisp green legumes are matched with creamy handmade ricotta, cool mint and a crunchy marcona almond vinaigrette to wake up your taste buds (and help you stick to any waistline-related resolutions.) Give a read through the recipe below, and keep in mind, you can prep the ricotta and snap peas ahead of time to speed things along.

Ingredients

For the ricotta cheese:
  • 1/2  gallon whole milk
  • 1/2  cup distilled white vinegar
  • salt
For the marcona almond vinaigrette:
  • 4 cups marcona almonds
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup chardonnay vinegar
  • salt and pepper
For the salad:
  • 5 pounds sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup marcona almond vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 mint sprigs
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon juice

Directions

For the ricotta cheese: 
  1. In a large sauce pot, heat the milk over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it gets to just below a simmer, add the vinegar and stir until combined. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and allow to drain for 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and season with salt. Then transfer to a plate and chill in the fridge until formed. Refrigerate in an airtight container to store.
For the marcona almond vinaigrette: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Arrange the almonds on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and toast in the oven until golden. Remove and cool to room temperature.
  2. Rough chop the almonds and mix evenly in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad: 
  1. Pull the stem end of the sugar snap peas to remove the “string,” then slice the peas lengthwise, about two cuts per pea. Reserve the shell and any peas that fall out. (This step will take some time, so plan ahead. If you slice the peas a day in advance, you can refrigerate them in an air-tight container lined with a damp paper towel on the top and bottom.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the sliced snap peas, ricotta cheese, red onion and vinaigrette. Rough chop or tear the mint leaves and add 1/4 cup to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine, making sure to break up the cheese as much as possible.
  3. Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. (Don't be shy.) Transfer to a serving dish.

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