Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vietnamese Peach Relish and Fresh Green Peas and Sugar Snap Peas in Sesame Dressing

What do you do when you end up with tons of random farmers' market produce?  We had peaches, shelling peas, sugar snap peas, green beans, wax beans, cherry tomatoes and a bunch of other goodies in the fridge, so it struck me that tonight's meal had to involve at least a few of those ingredients.  I thought a bit and came up with this Vietnamese Peach Relish (served with seared halibut) and a green pea and sugar snap pea salad.  And then you make a salad the next night and another salad the night after that...  Anyway, this dish was one that I thought would be interesting, fresh and vibrant.  And it was all of those things.  Plus it looked pretty on the white plate we served it on.  But Alex and I came to the conclusion that this peach relish (for better or worse) could have been served with anything - grilled chicken breasts, shrimp, pork chops...  You didn't need to spend $20 a pound for halibut because it doesn't really do anything spectacular for the halibut that it couldn't do just as well for another protein.  If I had to pick a halibut recipe to make again, I would go with the Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Yogurt that we made last week because that dish was phenomenal and really showed the halibut off nicely.  If I make the relish again (and I think that I will because I liked it and found it interesting) I might try it with a meat to see how it works out.  As for the peas, they were nice but I almost preferred them in their raw state to cooked because the soy sauce and the sesame oil obscured some of the natural sweetness and flavor of the peas.  I also think we needed to dry the peas off a little better so that the dressing would adhere a little better and not be diluted with the cold water that we rinsed the peas with.  My bad.

Recipes after the jump!

Vietnamese Peach Relish

1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile or jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 firm, ripe medium peaches, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint

In a mortar (or using a mini food processor), pound the garlic and chile with the brown sugar until a paste forms. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the peaches, cilantro and mint.

Serve with grilled halibut or shrimp (we went with seared halibut instead of grilled).

Fresh Green Peas and Sugar Snap Peas in Sesame Dressing
Adapted from Bon Appetit
July 2004

3 cups fresh shelled peas (from 3 pounds peas in pods)
12 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
1 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook shelled peas in large saucepan of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 30 seconds. Add sugar snap peas to same pan and continue boiling 30 seconds. Drain; rinse well under cold water and drain again. Transfer to large bowl.

Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. (Peas and dressing can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand separately at room temperature.) Pour dressing over peas in large bowl; toss to coat. Season salad to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

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