Growing up, summer, for me, was synonymous with many things. Besides beach, sea, playing cards all night long with friends and the million books and textbooks I finished in three months (yes, we were given “summer homeworks” back then), summer also meant all you can eat peas, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon and fish. But eat and swim were not the only two action verbs I had going on.
Summer was also synonymous with peeling, shelling, blanching, sundry-ing, meshing, sieving and eventually freezing a lot of vegetables during those months. My grandparents were always obsessed with “winter preparations”. Vegetables were in abundance and cheap around our summer home in Tatlisu, so the visit to the farmer’s market every week was something of a big ordeal. Every week, we would come home with at least 10 pounds of any vegetable, and prepare it for the freezing. Several weeks of peas, then okras, then tomatoes, making the dough for the tomato soup called Tarhana which involved sun dry-ing and sieving the dough…I helped them as much as I can in my busy teenager’s schedule. It might not be much but at least I carried the vegetables from the market every week. And I shelled peas…oh boy, I shelled hundreds of pounds of peas in my life by now probably… But nobody could make me touch or eat okra! So my grandfather would help my grandma most of the time when it was okra’s turn. I know, he does not look too happy in the picture below and that knife is wagging rather dangerously!
My mom likes to cook the peas, with some onions, olive oil and lots of dill, and serves it cold. It is a great light dish for summer days. I wanted to create a similar pea dish for this weekend’s dinner but dill was out of question, due to some person in this household not giving the love that dill deserves! After assessing what I had in the pantry and the fridge, this pea salad came about.
I had about 2-2.5 cups of frozen peas. Lots of fresh mint in the fridge. A small open bag of slivered almonds. All I had to do was to make a simple vinaigrette! The vinaigrette was made on a whim, with “a little bit of that, a little bit of this” approach. Turned out good but please taste and see if it needs adjusting for your taste. I like the tangy taste so I did not shy away from adding vinegar and lemon juice to the mustard. I then added a teaspoon honey to balance it out a bit. Salt and black pepper were the only seasonings added.
Looking at my grandparents picture above and remembering those summer days is making me smile. Everything was a big deal back then, I thought my problems were earth shattering types! Like the boy I had a crush on asked my friend out instead of me or my grandparents would not let me go to a friend’s house for a sleepover! And I thought my life was over at those times!
If I only knew!!! If I only knew how silly it was! I would have helped them to shell more peas! Heck I would even have helped them with okras!
Minty Pea Salad
- 2-2.5 cups of frozen or fresh peas (thaw the frozen ones, or cook and cool the fresh ones)
- 1/3 cups of chopped mint (firmly packed)
- 1/3 cups of slivered almonds
- 1/3 cups of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1-1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon each or to taste)
- Mix peas, mint and slivered almonds.
- Whisk the olive oil and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Toss the pea mixture and the dressing. Cover, let it sit in the fridge for two hours before you serve.
Sharing this recipe at Seasonal Saturday at La Bella Vita…
Thanks Jennifer for featuring me on Friday!