You know those recipes that you become obsessed with and can't stop making? The ones you learn and then wonder where the heck they've been your whole life? That's how I feel about this snap pea salad from my friend/chef Brendan Pelley of Boston's Doretta Taverna. Doretta is a Greek restaurant and one that I've become quite a fan of over the last few months. Brendan's food is in line with how I like to eat: a vegetarian and seafood heavy menu featuring seasonal ingredients. His take on Greek food isn't necessarily traditional, but his recipes embody the overall sentiment of that cuisine, which comes through in recipes like this snap pea and feta salad. Many of the dishes are laden with olive oil and cheeses (all Greek, of course) and lemon. I had the pleasure of attending a demo he hosted last week and when we were presented with this dish, I turned to Eric and said "I'm going to prepare this all summer long." He didn't protest. It's a recipe that can be thrown together as a light lunch, or paired with a protein to serve for dinner. Whatever it is, I'd suggest a bright Greek white wine to sip on while you're dining.
SNAP PEA + FETA SALAD
Mildly adapted from the recipe by Brendan Pelley of Doretta Taverna in Boston
1 pound snap peas
5 sprigs mint
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons Greek olive oil
6 radish, thinly sliced using a mandoline or sharp knife
8 oz crumbled Greek feta
1/8 cup chopped hazelnuts
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add snap peas and cook for 45 seconds to blanch them. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.Using a slotted spoon (or strain them in a colander), transfer the snap peas to ice water.
3. Strain and slice the snap peas on bias. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
4. Transfer most of the radish to the bowl with snap peas, reserving some for garnish.
5. Tear the mint leaves by hand over the salad. Add 3/4 of the crumbled feta and toss all the ingredients in the bowl.
6. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the salad and toss until coated. Check seasoning and add more salt, to taste.
7. Garnish with remaining feta, radish slices, mint, and chopped hazelnuts.