Tuesday, June 25, 2013

szechuan spring pea, asparagus, pine nut and brown rice salad

in taos spring peas are in season the first day of summer...i guess late spring is more accurate.  all of a sudden there are bins of peas at the farmers' market, and at the locally owned "health food" store, and at roadside stands.  i couldn't be happier.

spring peas are super sweet with a bit of a crunch...you can eat them raw in salads or lightly cooked in pastas, stir-fried with other seasonal vegetables or added to anything you can imagine.  i like them in omelets, on pizzas, smashed and spread on bruschetta, pureed into soup and on and on and on.

today i felt like something spicy.  i had a pound of peas, a bunch of asparagus and all of the ingredients for a spicy szechuan sauce.  this hearty dinner salad was born.  i like it spicy (i write this blog after all) so the szechuan peppercorns and chile garlic sauce add a nice bit of heat.  reduce the amount you use if you want your salad a bit tamer.  i serve this recipe as a main dish for vegetarians and add grilled or sauteed boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the carnivores in the crowd.  hint...cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.  make double the amount of the soy sauce/vinegar recipe, place half in a large zip lock bag with the chicken and marinate for a couple of hours.  cook in a hot pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and saute for a couple minutes on each side.  serve with the spring pea salad.  really good!

szechuan spring pea, asparagus, pine nut and brown rice salad
(serves 4 as a main course)

4 cups cooked brown rice **
3  tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1/8 cup water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/s tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chile garlic sauce (plus more for serving)
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked szechuan peppercorns (toast in small skillet for 1 minute, or until fragrant, black pepper can be substituted if necessary)
1 tablespoon  ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
4 scallions, white & green parts, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb fresh spring peas, shelled

in a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey,  vinegars and water.  heat large skillet over med-high heat.  when hot, add olive oil, sesame oil, chile garlic sauce, cracked peppercorns, ginger and garlic. saute for 30 seconds.  add scallions, asparagus, pine nuts and 3 tbsp of the soy sauce/vinegar sauce.  stir fry for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp tender. add the peas and another tbsp of the soy sauce/vinegar mixture.  cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. (do not overcook the peas...you want them crunchy, sweet and delicious)

add cooked brown rice to a large bowl.  pour in the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.  add additional sauce if needed.  salad should be moist but not soggy.  serve with additional chile garlic sauce on the side if you want it spicier.  i serve this dish with sauteed chicken breast pieces. serve hot, warm or at room temperature

** check out my recipe for preparing sprouted brown rice by clicking here.

it is "spring peas" week at food network's summerfest roundup. check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. do you have a favorite spring pea recipe?  share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one: 
Dishin & Dishes: Smashed Pea Bruschetta with Mint
Feed Me Phoebe: Sweet Pea and Green Onion Soup
Taste With the Eyes: Peas and Pasta with a Garlicky Yogurt Sauce and Smoky Walnuts
Weelicious: Peas and Pasta
Devour: Quick Salad with Peas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta with Spring Peas, Mushrooms and Greens
Red or Green?: Szechuan Spring Peas, Asparagus, Pine Nuts and Brown Rice Salad
Blue Apron Blog: Sweet Corn & Pea Fritters with Pea Tendril Salad
Pinch My Salt: Homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole
Domesticate Me: Clean Out Fridge Frittata
Virtually Homemade: Summer Lasagna with Skinny Alfredo Sauce
The Sensitive Epicure: Pea Puree with Roasted Salmon and Chives
Daily*Dishin: Marinated Spring Pea Salad
The Heritage Cook: Pea, Potato and Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
FN Dish: Favorite Shelled Pea Sides

happy summer everyone!
my best,
california girl in taos

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