This recipe is from Food Network Magazine. I’ve adapted it slightly. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon it, probably at my friend Jamie’s house because she always has Food Network Magazine. I’m surprised I even tried it because I’m not always wild about peas of any variety and my husband certainly is not. It’s strange, Dirk is a pretty open guy when it comes to food. He actually prides himself on it. But he has this strange prejudice when it comes to springtime veggies. That being said, we both love this recipe. Can you believe it? I will definitely admit that these ingredients sound a little suspect but the combination is really beautiful. Cook the peas to just tender. Don’t overcook! The shallots are salty and sweet, the walnuts roasted and crunchy and the dates add even more sweetness to round the salad out perfectly. What better addition to your Easter dinner than a recipe that is all about the renewing of the growing season? And dates? That’s totally a biblical food. Right?
One note: Unless you are a die-hard pea fan, only use the English peas if you can find fresh. If you’re like me and you’re quite suspicious of peas you won’t want to use frozen. And I can’t even talk about canned. Fresh peas that you shell yourself are an entirely different story. If you find those at the store, definitely add them. I typically can’t find fresh peas, so I leave the English peas out. I usually increase the amount of snow peas but 1/2-1 cup.
Kosher or coarse sea salt
2 cups shelled fresh English peas or thawed frozen peas (about 10 ounces)
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 2-3 pieces
1 cup snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoon walnut oil
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
⅛- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
About the walnut oil…you can definitely sub extra virgin olive oil and it will taste great. But really, it’s worth looking for the walnut oil. It adds amazing flavor and it an oil that can stand up to some heat so you can use the rest of the bottle for cooking or in salads, no problem. I used this brand:
I found it at Marczyk’s Fine Foods in Denver and I’m sure they would have it at Whole Foods too. Or order it here.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. If using fresh English peas, add to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the snap peas and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes, then add the snow peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain the peas and plunge into the ice water to cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the walnut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the walnuts, dates, and cayenne and cook until the nuts are slightly toasted, about 1 more minute.
Drain the peas, shaking off the excess water, then add to the skillet (if using frozen peas, add them here). Add some salt and cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the walnut oil and toss. Add more salt and some freshly cracked pepper to taste.