I love food that has a somewhat fancy pants appearance, but is in reality super simple to prepare – and this shell pea and whipped ricotta salad fits the bill! It uses the best of this season’s ingredients, and can be made from start to finish, in under ten minutes!
Truth be told I look forward to shucking peas every year. Strange? Maybe, but I find it oddly cathartic pulling the pods back to reveal what’s inside. This week, my Farmer’s Market was doling out some pretty unreal offerings (I mean that literally as the peas looked too perfect to even be real!), and I knew I had to create something that capitalized on that. Peas and ricotta are a typical combination so I decided to gild the lily by whipping the cheese (If you have never tried whipped ricotta, do it! It’s so easy to make, and so good!), adding some microgreens and shoots – although you can go anywhere you like with this as arugula, butter lettuce or any type of sprouts would be great alternatives – and a garlic/lemon/mint dressing. I think I did the little green guys justice! : )
- For the Whipped Ricotta:
- 1 cup chilled whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- For the Salad Dressing:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- For the Salad:
- 1 cup fresh shell peas (removed from the pod)
- Greens - I used pea shoots and microgreens, but feel free to use arugula, butter lettuce, mesclun, spinach or sprouts!
- To make the whipped ricotta: Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy, with a whipped consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Set aside.
- To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the garlic and salt, pressing the salt into the garlic with the back of a fork, to make a rough paste. Stir in the lemon juice and mint leaves. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute or two so that all of the flavors can meld. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
- For the peas: Bring a pot of shallow water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare a large bowl of ice water [to use as an ice bath for the peas]. Place the peas in the boiling water and cook for approximately 2 minutes, just until the peas are bright green and tender. Drain and place in the ice bath.
- To make the salad: Arrange the whipped ricotta and peas on a plate. Toss the greens in the dressing and add to the plate. Drizzle additional dressing over the ricotta and peas, if desired. (You can also mix the ingredients together or arrange the peas and the greens atop the ricotta if you like! This combination is delicious any way you plate it! : )