If you’re British like me, freshly-shelled garden peas and mint go together like bacon and eggs. I married this classic combination with traditional Greek flavors to create an unusual early-summer salad. The use of thinly-shaved ribbons of raw zucchini is an Italian technique that gives this dish a welcome crunch. Although it’s the perfect way to use fresh English peas, don’t despair if you can’t get a hold of those elusive creatures: a bag of frozen peas will work just as well.
Serves: 4 as a starter or 2 as a main | Active time: 15 minutes + at least 1 hour marinating time
5 leafy sprigs of mint (about 50 leaves)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 cups freshly-shelled English peas (or a 10- ounce bag frozen peas)
For the salad
4 small zucchini
4 small scallions
4 sprigs dill
1 6-ounce block feta cheese
To make the marinade, strip the mint leaves from their sprigs. Set aside a few small whole leaves to garnish, then roughly chop the rest. Place the olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and mint in a bowl and stir to combine.
Blanch the peas in salted boiling water until just soft but retaining a bite. This will be 2–3 minutes for fresh peas and less than 1 minute for frozen. Drain, and then immediately stir the hot peas into the marinade. Set aside to cool.
When the peas and marinade reach room temperature, place them in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
Just before you’re ready to serve, slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons using a mandoline or potato peeler. Slice the scallions and strip the leaves from the dill.
Mix the zucchini, scallions, and dill together in a bowl, and stir them through the marinated peas, with all their oily juices. Crumble the feta and sprinkle it over the salad. Garnish with the reserved whole mint leaves.