Cold Snap

If you’re looking for spring’s breakout taste, pick peas

Photograph by Jessica Boone

Don’t get him wrong—Cooks County chef Daniel Mattern loves wintertime and all its slow-cooked comfort. But come April he’s ready to take advantage of those first little packets of green arriving at the markets. “Snap peas are a favorite of mine,” says Mattern. “This salad takes us out of the winter doldrums with the sugary peas, a punchy lemon vinaigrette, earthy farro, and soft prosciutto.” It makes a great starter or a light supper on a warm evening. 

Snap Pea and Prosciutto Salad

6 cups sugar snap peas (about 1 ½ pounds), trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
1  cup farro
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
¾ cup extra virgin olive  oil
2  tablespoons seeded Fresno chiles, minced
16 leaves fresh mint, torn in pieces
12 slices prosciutto
½   cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring large saucepan of generously salted water to boil. Add peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer peas to colander set over a bowl (maintain boiling water). Rinse peas under cold water to cool. Drain well. Add farro to the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain farro well and cool completely. 

Meanwhile combine lemon juice and shallots in small bowl. Grad-ually whisk in olive oil, and season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine peas, farro, chiles, and mint in large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide mixture among plates. Top each salad with two slices of prosciutto. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.