A couple of years ago, a chef friend and I dined at Salt and Love, a busy Italian-style bistro in Manhattan Beach, CA.
We thought the meal was delicious and both of us were eager to try to reproduce the scrumptious starter that we had shared. It was the Sugar Snap Pea and Burrata Salad, so fresh and tempting it had us itching for more.
Served in medium-sized bowls, the peas with their vegetal sweetness, quickly-blanched-crisp texture and bright green hue, were perfectly napped with lemony vinaigrette and a generous amount of fresh mint and basil.
Burrata cheese added a just-right creamy richness, and thinly sliced radishes gave a subtle peppery spark. The recipe that follows is my adaptation of that dish.
Sugar Snap Pea and Burrata Salad
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
8 ounces sugar snap peas, about 3 generous cups
Leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs of Italian parsley or about 1/4 cup baby arugula
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces if large
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 radishes, trimmed, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (or more to taste) fresh lemon juice
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
1 pound burrata buffalo mozzarella
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish: small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese (bocconcini)
1. Bring about 4 cups of salted water to a boil on high heat. Blanch peas in boiling water for 30 seconds; peas should still be crunchy. Drain in colander and refresh with cold water; place on kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry. Most sugar snap peas in the marketplace are string-less. Taste one to check for strings (if there are strings, remove strings by snapping stem end of pea (leaving it intact enough for strings to stay attached), breaking it toward the side of pea rather than bottom of top – pull off strings). The restaurant version cut the pea pods in half down seams, leaving some peas on each side of pods. I do this with a few, but leave most of them whole to save on prep time.
2. Combine peas, parsley, basil, mint and radishes in a large bowl. Add oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and toss to coat. Season salad with salt; taste and add more lemon juice, if desired.
3. Tear open ball(s) of burrata and arrange pieces in 4 to 6 bowls). Top with salad and season with freshly ground black pepper. If desired, scatter a few small balls of fresh mozzarella on top.