I adapted this Mario Batali recipe from his new book, Molto Gusto, Easy Italian Cooking at Home. Of course, by “adapted” I mean I was too lazy to go exactly by the recipe since 1) That would involve measurements, 2) I had some fava beans I wanted to use up, so I threw them in (I recommend only using peas as in the original recipe), and 3) I didn’t have the sparkling water he called for in the vinaigrette.
I caught up with Mario here in L.A. recently and I asked him what the sparkling water was for. He said curtly, without a sliver of a smile, “It’s to keep the peas crisp.” Well, that might explain why mine seemed a little slimy the next day (but it didn't explain why Mario did—but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post to come). You can try the soda water and see if it gives the peas a longer shelf life, but without it, I wouldn't serve this later than about 12 hours after making it. But those peas in their prime? Wow-ie wow wow! Who knew so few ingredients could be so loud? Each one screams of flavor, and you’ll want to shout a big yum right back at 'em. What's a little onion breath among your new friends?
2 pounds peas in the pod, shelled, or 2 cups fresh peas
1 medium red onion, cut into dice about the same size as the peas. I used less onion. Taste onion first to see how strong it is, and then eyeball it.
½ bunch fresh mint, leaves removed and torn into 2 or 3 pieces each. I used less mint. You can eyeball it.
¼ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Combine the peas, onion, and mint in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The peas can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before serving.)
Red Wine Vinaigrette
¼ cup red wine vinegar, preferably Chianti
¼ cup sparkling water I omitted this and didn't notice its absence.
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian
Whisk the vinegar, water, and olive oil together in a small bowl. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)