Spring Pea Salad
This morning I read Sara’s latest post on Sprouted Kitchen. It’s a beautiful reflection on 10 years of blogging and it made me realize that I’m pretty sure my 10 year anniversary came and went without fanfare. But it’s worth noting (as Sara did beautifully). This space, as we all do, has evolved. Some of its evolution has been intentional, some of it has not. As blogs have taken a dip in popularity and prominence I’ve stepped away from this space as other areas in my life have taken precedence. But I always come back here because this is where it all began for me.
In this space I found myself. I found my love of food writing, recipe development and food photography. This space taught me how to do those things. In the midst of the extremely challenging season of raising three young children this space was mine. It was my sanctuary. My creative place where I could interact with other adults and you all encouraged me in this work when the rest of my day offered very little encouragement.
While other blogs lay abandoned, I don’t want that for this space because I need it. I’m not sure how many of you are still here (I’m incredibly grateful for each and every one) but this space has always been incredibly personal for me. It’s where I sort through my thoughts, where I’ve shared incredibly intimate parts of my life and where I’ve talked about food and life intermingling. For awhile I backed away from vulnerability here as I recovered from an intense vulnerability hangover after Date Night In came out. And even today as I write this I battle the inner critic who is continually telling me to just get to the damn recipe. But this place has never just been about the recipes has it? It’s always been about the lives around the food. It’s our dining table conversations. It’s you and I at the table surrounded by food that reminds us that beauty abounds in this broken world. We talk about the brokenness and the goodness. We raise a glass and toast to our humanity. In all its imperfect glory.
I am not the same person I was when I began this blog. And I won’t be the same person five or ten years from now when I hope this place is still a part of my life.
I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this but I’m here, I hope you are too and I’m not going anywhere. Thank you for being here, for supporting this work. You all have made my passion my career. Whoa. Because of you all I get to wake up and work my ass off providing for my family doing the work I love to do and I truly feel I was created to do. Good sweet Lord, thank you.
Now let’s talk about this freaking salad because I have many people who are waiting for this recipe. I’ve made it at least a dozen times this season. Always without a recipe because that’s my favorite way to cook – relying on instinct, being present and tasting all along the way. But I come here to share this recipe because it has brought me great joy and that needs to be shared.
It’s an hommage to the humble pea in all its splendor. English peas, sugar snap peas and pea vines mingle with herbs, lemon, olive oil, pistachios and pecorino to honor spring and the peas that are among the first to sprout. It’s simple in execution and ingredients and yet people believe magic is involved. The magic is in the beauty of the ingredients themselves. Our job is simple.
Feel free to use this recipe as a guide and let your own tastebuds guide you. Trust yourself.
Spring Pea Salad
6 ounces pea vines
2 cups thinly sliced sugar snap peas
2 cups freshly shucked or frozen peas, blanched
1/4 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup pistachios
Toss the pea vines in a bit of olive oil and sea salt then grill or broil until charred in parts, about 3-4 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the sugar snap peas, blanched peas, herbs and pecorino. Toss with olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir in the pistachios and finish with flake salt. Some freshly cracked black pepper is nice too. Taste and adjust as you see fit.
Pasta World Championships Winning Recipes
*This post was created in partnership with Barilla. They have been masters of pasta for over 140 years and since pasta is one of my absolute favorites (and always a go-to for our weeknight dinners) I am so thrilled to team up with them for 2019 to bring you some of my favorite pasta recipes. The pastas used in the competition were from the new Collezione line which uses the traditional bronze plates for extruding giving the pasta the perfect “al dente” texture for sauce that holds on tight. Today I get the pleasure of sharing TWO of the winning recipes from the 2019 Barilla Pasta World Championships.
If you invite me to an event where my job is to eat eight plates of pasta I will so be there. And that’s just what I got to do while attending the Barilla Pasta World Championships.
While eight chefs feverishly worked to create what they would hope to be an award winning plate of pasta I went around the room, took in the sights and smells, shot a few photos and eagerly awaited the time to eat. The task was simple enough; create a memorable pasta dish that would woo the incredible panel of judges (including the editor of Food & Wine magazine and Lorenzo Boni, executive chef of Barilla America). Of course we all know that simple food is often the most difficult especially since so many of us have such fond memories at the table with heaping piles of pasta. Is there anything that quite comforts the way a slurping of spaghetti noodles does or how cheese perfectly tucks into the crevices on penne? It’s what I grab when I’m eager to get to the table with my family without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Some of the chefs went all out by meticulously dicing bacon for an eggless seafood-based carbonara, or blew my mind by smoking the pasta water (totally recreating this by the way) while others stayed classic and simple making a flawless arrabiata or pistachio pesto. And of course there were truffles, quite possibly my favorite thing to put on pasta.
In the end it was the Pistachio Pesto Buccatini that won the heart of the judges and I love that it did. Of course it was completely delicious but it was also quite possibly the most simple of the dishes. The winning dish came from the youngest contestant, Chef Sean Turner.
Since the contest Chef Sean’s recipe has now become a staple in our house. The ingredients are so often on hand and even if they aren’t I’m able to find alternatives that can easily be substituted. My latest rendition used dill and mint in place of the parsley and basil. And pecorino stood in for the Parmesan. Have you run out of Buccatini? Penne makes a fine substitute.
Get ready to cheer Chef Sean Turner on when he goes on to compete at the Barilla Pasta World Championship in October where he will compete with chefs from around the world in Paris. Until then try these incredible recipes from the winning chefs and find your champion.
People’s Choice Winning Recipe:
4 cups refined coconut oil, divided
1 lb. raw applewood smoked bacon, finely chopped, divided
1 bulb fennel, chopped, fronds reserved
8 large shallots, chopped
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
10 whole black peppercorns, crushed
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
48 Littleneck clams, scrubbed well
2 cups Chardonnay
1 large head yellow or orange cauliflower
1 oz. dried Italian nettles or dried seaweed sheets (nori)
5 large sunchokes, very thinly sliced
3 large Meyer lemons, zested, segments removed
1 box (16 oz.) Barilla® Collezione Spaghetti
8 fresh farm raised scallops (10-20 count)
24-32 frilly mustard green leaves
3 oz. farm-raised sustainable California caviar
1 small piece cured fish roe (bottarga), such as Sardinian gold
Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in large deep skillet on medium heat. Add 3/4 of the bacon, fennel (except fronds), shallots, parsley, garlic, and black and red pepper. Sauté until bacon is browned. Add clams and wine; cover. Cook until clams are completely open (discard any unopened clams). Remove clams from pan with tongs. Continue cooking broth, uncovered, while preparing remaining ingredients.
Use box grater to grate cauliflower down to the stems. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Add a small amount of water. Bake until softened. Use fine grater to grate cauliflower stems; set aside.Cook remaining bacon in small skillet on medium heat until crisp. Drain; set aside.
Use coffee/spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind nettles into fine powder. Heat remaining oil in large saucepan to 350°
Deep fry sunchoke slices until crisp. Drain well then dust with nettle powder.
Strain clam broth; discard solids. Pour broth into blender; add cooked cauliflower. Puree until smooth; stir in lemon zest.
Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.
Return pasta to pot. Add cauliflower sauce; mix well, adding pasta water as needed to achieve desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut scallops into small pieces. Heat some of the remaining coconut oil in medium skillet on high heat. Add scallops; cook just until seared. Add to pasta in pot. Add clams and cooked bacon. Mix gently.
Garnish each serving with lemon segments, mustard greens, caviar, grated bottarga, grated cauliflower stems, fennel fronds, and sunchoke chips.
2019 Barilla Pasta World Championship Winning Recipe
Bucatini Pistachio Pesto
1 box (12 oz.) Barilla® Collezione Bucatini
2 oz. lemon juice
4 oz. basil leaves
2.5 oz. Italian parsley leaves
2.5 oz. fennel fronds
2.5 oz. diced shallots
5 oz. shelled pistachios, toasted, plus additional for garnish
5 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for garnish
12 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
- Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain, reserving pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, pulse lemon juice, herbs and shallots in food processor until almost a paste, scraping down side of bowl as needed. Add nuts, cheese and salt. Pulse until no whole nuts remain. With motor running, add oil in steady stream until well blended. Season with additional salt, if desired.
- Transfer pesto to large deep skillet. Add 1 oz. pasta water and pasta. Toss until well coated, adding additional water as needed.
- Top each serving with additional cheese and nuts.