Keep your summery vegetables bright and crunchy using a technique known as blanching. Blanching involves briefly boiling a food (typically a vegetable, but fruits and nuts can also be blanched) for about two minutes, and then plunging the food into ice water to stop the cooking.
Here, we blanch sugar snap peas so that they have a vibrant crisp texture when mixed into a salad. Blanching is also a good technique for preserving the nutrients in vegetables (versus boiling for a longer period of time, which results in a loss of water-soluble vitamins into the cooking water).
This salad recipe comes from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The homemade dressing is creamy and savory and full of delicious, healthy miso paste and tahini. The dressing can be used on almost any type of salad, as a dip for your summery crudité platter, or as a sauce for a cooked tofu, stir-fry, or chilled soba noodle dish.
- Table salt for the pot
- ½ pound sugar snap peas, untrimmed
- ½ pound Napa cabbage, cut into thin ribbons (about 3 cups) – optional
- 4 ounces radishes (4 medium-large), julienned, or quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 large scallions (about ½ bundle), white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons mild yellow or white miso
- 2 tablespoons tahini or sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- Blanch sugar snaps. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and prepare a small ice-water bath. Boil the sugar snaps for about 2 minutes, or until just barely cooked but still crisp. Scoop them out with a large slotted spoon, and drop them in the ice-water bath. Once cool, drain and pat dry. Trim ends and cut sugar snaps into thin slices. Toss in large bowl with cabbage, radishes, scallions, and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
- Make the dressing. Whirl all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Assemble the salad. Toss salad with half of dressing, and taste. Use more if you desire. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.
- Store any leftover dressing in an airtight jar in the refrigerator and use on your next salad.