This is a good salad when dining moves out of the kitchen onto the patio.
Just a few ingredient notes: In Chicago, sugar snap peas are among the first things to come to market (along with spinach, radishes, and green onions). Later in the season, when green beans arrive, I use them instead. I normally don't like to call for specific brand names, but Loriva's roasted peanut oil is amazing. It tastes like the best peanut butter you've ever had. If you can't find it, ordinary vegetable oil will do. Ricotta salata is ricotta cheese that is pressed and drained. The result is a crumbly cheese, similar in texture to feta. In fact, if you can't find it, use feta.
Big pot to blanch the peas1 lb. sugar snap peas
3 T. Loriva brand roasted peanut oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. salt
Small handful fresh basil
1/3 c. crumbled ricotta salata
1) Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil. Snap off the ends of the snap peas (anymore, most varieties don't need to be stringed). Blanch the peas--cook them in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes, just long enough so they no longer taste raw--then immediately run cold water over them to stop them from cooking further.
2) While the peas are cooking, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard and salt together. And tear up the basil.
3) Toss the peas with the vinaigrette and basil. Crumble the cheese over the top and serve.
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
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