I adore lady peas. They are as lovely as their sweet name suggests. These tiny little gems are creamy and pack a flavor punch for their diminutive size. And during the summer, when the lady peas are abundant, I use them in whatever way I can, braised in butter or in a beautiful Sunshine Succotash.
This fresh salad is perfect for a late summer supper, featuring the stars of a Southern summer farmers’ market in a fresh basil vinaigrette. It is light and fresh and looks beautifully colorful. I have served this several times this summer, with a cold fried chicken supper and as part of a fresh summer vegetable meal alongside seasonal green beans, sliced tomatoes and watermelon. It’s a great salad to keep in the fridge over a summer weekend to go with sandwiches or to serve in a dainty lettuce cup.
Sometimes I find tiny “currant” tomatoes that are about the size of pearls. I love to use those in this salad when I can. Otherwise, look for small tomatoes and cut any larger ones in half. Red onions add a nice pop of color and bite, but diced green onions would work just as well.
Lady pea, corn and tomato salad with basil vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cups olive oil
1. Place the lemon juice, mustard, salt and basil leaves in the bowl of a small food processor or blender.
2. Pulse to chop up the basil, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vinegar and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have a nice emulsified dressing. Store the vinaigrette covered in the fridge for up to three days.
For the salad:
2 cups fresh lady peas
5 ears fresh corn, husked and cut from the cob
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1-1/2 cups small cherry tomatoes
1. Rinse the lady peas, then place in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water (you’ll add the corn later, so there needs to be room). Bring to a boil, skim off any foam, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, just until the peas are tender, but still have a little bite.
2. Add the corn kernels, stir, cover the pot and cook a further five minutes. Drain the peas and corn and rinse with cold water. Leave to drain completely, then place in a large bowl, add the onion and stir to combine.
3. You can prepare the salad up to this point, cover and refrigerate for one day. About an hour before serving, add the cherry tomatoes and toss to combine. Pour over the dressing and stir to coat everything and evenly distribute the dressing. Taste and add salt as needed.
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