Like celery sticks and baby carrots, sugar snap peas are most often eaten solo as a healthy snack or as crudités at dinner parties. Franny’s chef Andrew Feinberg got us rethinking all that with a recipe that showcases the vegetable’s true salad potential. In the Brooklyn restaurant’s just-released cookbook, Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian, Feinberg proves his point in a salad that combines barely blanched sugar snap peas, a fragrant herb-laced dressing and a smear of creamy ricotta cheese. It’s everything you love about a crudités platter, on your salad plate.
Sugar Snap Peas with Ricotta, Mint and Lemon
Recipe adapted from "Franny's: Simple Seasonal Italian" by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens and Melissa Clark (Artisan)
½ cup whole-milk ricotta (see note)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
½ pound sugar snap peas (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, white and light-green parts only
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for garnishing
1. In a small bowl, whisk the ricotta with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to whisk until the ricotta is fluffy and creamy. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath, salt it generously, then set aside. Blanch the sugar snap peas in the boiling water until bright green, 30 to 40 seconds. Drain the peas, immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath and let stand until thoroughly chilled, about 5 minutes. Drain the peas again, then spread them out on a clean dish towel to dry.
3. In a large bowl, toss the peas with the mint, parsley, scallions, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and lemon juice. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
4. Spread 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in the center of each of four plates. Mound ½ cup of the pea salad on top of the ricotta on each plate. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt before serving.
Note: If you use homemade or artisanal ricotta instead of a mainstream supermarket brand in this recipe, you’ll need to drain the ricotta before using it. To do so, line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth or a clean dish towel, set it over a large bowl and add the ricotta. Refrigerate overnight; the ricotta will lose much of its water content and thicken.
Excerpted from Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens and Melissa Clark (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by John von Pamer.
It's the details that count! Try these tips
Check out more seasonal Southern Italian recipes from Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian.
Try your hand at making luscious homemade ricotta for this dish using this recipe from Food52.