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.–Cathy Mantuano and Tony Mantuano
LC What To Sip Note
The author recommends pouring a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc with this upgraded take on that creamy pea, bacon, and cubed Velveeta salad that was a ’70s classic. (What are you waiting for? Don’t you have a bottle of wine to uncork?)
Pea Shoot, Bacon, and Pecorino Salad
Serves 6 as an appetizer
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Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
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 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in a large bowl.
Wipe out the saute pan and return to medium-high heat. Add 1/3 cup 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.
Have ready a bowl filled halfway with 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.
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 cheese, if using, and some crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
Pea Shoot, Bacon, and Pecorino Salad Recipe © 2008 Cathy Mantuano and Tony Mantuano. Photo © 2008 Jeff Kauck. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.