Combining asparagus with two kinds of peas, this beautiful salad captures the freshness of the new season. The vegetables are cooked briefly in boiling water, a technique known as blanching, and then plunged into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color. To tame the bite of the raw shallot, we toss it with a little vinegar and let stand for a few minutes before tossing the salad.
Asparagus, Pea and Mint Salad
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb. (500 g) asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut into 3-inch (7.5-cm) pieces
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) shelled English peas or thawed frozen peas
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) sugar snap peas, halved crosswise on the diagonal
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Pea shoots for garnish (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a large bowl filled with ice and water. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until bright green and just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath. Add the English peas and sugar snap peas to the boiling water and cook until bright green and just crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice bath. Let the vegetables cool completely, then drain and pat dry.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the shallot and 1 Tbs. of the vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 Tbs. vinegar and the olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
4. Add the asparagus, peas and snow peas to the bowl with the shallot. Add the mint, lemon zest and a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss to combine. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss again. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, garnish with pea shoots and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen