Three parts of the pea plant are featured in this hearty spring salad: the pea itself (both shelled peas and sugar snaps); the shoot, which is the tender green leaf or tendrils of the pea plant; and the pea sprout, which is the beginning stage of the plant. If you cannot find pea shoots or tendrils at your local farmers’ market, substitute any tender spring greens in their place. Enjoy this salad with a dry, crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc.–Cathy Mantuano and Tony Mantuano
Pea, Bacon, and Pecorino Cheese Salad Recipe
Hands-On Time: | Total Time: | Serves 6 as an appetizer
- 6 strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 slices bread, crust removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Sea salt
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup pea shoots, cut in half
- 1/2 cup pea sprouts
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 12 thin slices Pecorino Romano cheese, optional
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- 2. Cook the bacon in a saute pan over medium heat until crisp but still chewy, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Reserve 3 teaspoons of the bacon fat in a large bowl.
- 3. Wipe out the saute pan and return to medium-high heat. Add 1/3 cup of the oil. Add a cube of bread to test the temperature. When the cube starts to sizzle and fry, add the remaining cubes and fry until light golden brown, tossing occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain.
- 4. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the fresh peas and boil for 30 seconds. Scoop out the peas with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Repeat with the snap peas. When cooled completely, drain the peas and snap peas well.
- 5. Add the peas, snap peas, pea shoots, pea sprouts, and croutons to the bowl with the bacon fat. Add the lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss well. Divide the salad among 4 to 6 plates. Top each salad with 2 or 3 thin shavings of cheese, if using, and some crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
Pea, Bacon, and Pecorino Cheese Salad Recipe © 2008 Cathy Mantuano and Tony Mantuano. Photo © 2008 Jeff Kauck. All rights reserved.