These green beans, snow peas, and frozen green peas have been blanched, refreshed in ice water, dried, and gently tossed together in a large bowl. They are the vehicle for another fabulous flavor bomb from Ottolenghi’s Plenty.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the finished salad, with the crushed coriander, nigella, and mustard seeds, warmed in olive oil, and tossed into the salad with red chile, red onion, lemon zest, chopped fresh tarragon, and baby kale. The recipe calls for baby swiss chard, but also says it’s optional, so when I found no baby chard available, I substituted baby kale. It worked perfectly. Normally, I would automatically say you could substitute baby spinach, but I’m not sure of that, now that I’ve eaten this salad all up. Baby spinach does that strange thing to your teeth and tongue when it’s raw, and that would detract from the clean, light, flavor of the dressing.
You may remember, Yotam Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian, he’s just really great with vegetables. He has a lot of respect for their individual strengths, and treats them with love to help them shine. I mention this, because I think this salad would be great with a lamb curry and some naan bread. It’s also hearty and zingy enough to eat just as it is, all on its own. Here’s a link to the recipe, on iVillage.com, along with the gorgeous photo from the cookbook, so you can see how it looks when it’s ready to eat. If you have trouble finding nigella seeds, you can order them from Penzey’s Spices online. They’re a great family-owned company, and their prices are very reasonable. You’ll have your nigella seeds, and probably more than that, in about a week. Give this salad a try; don’t be intimidated by the unfamiliar spices. They all come together with the vegetables to create a fresh, zippy, pungent mouthful, which is balanced with the sweetness of the snow peas and green peas. It’s truly irresistible.