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Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Photo: Fawn Deviney/Courtesy of Branch Line
From: Chef de cuisine Stephen Oxaal, Branch Line, Watertown, MA.  Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

½ gallon sugar snap peas
¼ cup red onion, sliced very thinly
¼ cup mint leaves, hand-torn
¾ cup Marcona almond vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 cup ricotta cheese (recipe follows)
to taste, salt and pepper
as needed, lemon juice

Marcona Almond Vinaigrette:
4 cups Marcona almonds, toasted and rough-chopped
¼ cup shallot, minced
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
1/3 cup honey
1¼ cup olive oil
3 lemons, zested
¼ cup chardonnay vinegar
to taste, salt and pepper

Ricotta Cheese:
½ gallon whole milk
½ cup distilled white vinegar
to taste, salt

For salad: Prepare sugar snap peas by pulling the end of the pea to remove the string. Once strings are removed, slice each pea twice lengthwise. Reserve shell and any peas that fall out. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine peas, onion, mint, almonds and ricotta. Mix thoroughly, making sure to break up ricotta as much as possible. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. 

For vinaigrette: Preheat oven to 350°. Toss almonds dry on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature. Rough-chop the almonds and mix evenly with remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For ricotta: In a large sauce pot, heat the milk over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it gets just below a simmer, add vinegar and stir until evenly mixed. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and drain for 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt. Transfer to a plate and chill in refrigerator. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

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