Peas get a Mediterranean reinvention
In most home kitchens, sugar snap peas are reserved for stir-fry and ubiquitous vegetable platters. Chicago chef Chris Pandel took a new approach with the common vegetable in this light, refreshing antipasti course. At his new Italian restaurant, Balena, the chef inspired us to use our next pea purchase in a salad that marries crisp snap peas with chickpeas, meaty olives and a scattering of fresh herbs. A drizzle of tangy crème fraîche completes the fuss-free and unexpectedly stylish start to a summer meal.
Snap Peas with Chickpeas, Olives and Creme Fraiche
Recipe adapted from Chris Pandel, Balena, Chicago
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more for seasoning
6 coriander seeds, toasted then roughly crushed
Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 cups cooked chickpeas
½ cup Cerignola or Castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
¾ pound sugar snap peas
6 mint leaves
6 basil leaves
2 to 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
1. Prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice, coriander seeds and a pinch of salt. Add the chickpeas, olives and shallot and set aside.
3. Add the snap peas to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the peas to the ice-water bath to cool for 1 minute. Remove the peas and pull on the stem side of each to remove the strings. Split the peas lengthwise along their natural seam and discard the strings.
4. Tear the mint and basil leaves into small pieces. Add the herbs and split peas to the bowl of chickpeas. Toss gently and season to taste with additional lemon juice and salt. Divide the salad among 4 plates and drizzle with the crème fraîche to taste. Serve immediately.
It's the details that count! Try these tips
Buy high-quality Cerignola or Castelvetrano olives at Di Bruno Bros.
Learn more about the Chicago restaurant Balena and stop by next time you’re in the Windy City.
Try a homemade crème fraîche recipe.