Edamame and three-pea salad

Small, sweet greens, piquant little leaves and a wasabi dressing make for a seriously good green salad

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When I think green salad, I don't imagine pale iceberg lettuce and ghostly discs of cucumber. I want a riot of verdant joy: lots of small, sweet greens, some piquant little leaves for contrast, all tied together with a wasabi-based dressing. Fabulously, uncompromisingly green, feistily flavoured, incredibly nutritious and addictively delicious – and no lettuce (or, for that matter, raw kale, which has no place in a salad bowl, ever) in sight.

As a template for a green salad, I make this work throughout the year. Here I've built the base with peppery watercress. In other seasons I'll turn to small-but-punchy leaves like mache, sorrel, rocket, mesclun, or even the unfashionable and underrated curly parsley. Use what's in season, what you find and what you like.

Into the tangle of leaves go the luscious jewels. Edamame beans, freed from their pods, are joined by peas in three different guises: fresh shelled, snow and sprouts. If I have any tiny mustardy greens around – I had some beautiful micro Dijon cress the day I took the photo – they'll be snipped in as well.

Because nothing succeeds like excess, the dressing is also green and, like the salad itself, both sweet and spikily hot. All together, beautiful to behold and sensational to eat.


Edamame and three-pea salad

 

1 bunch watercress, tough stems trimmed
½ cup shelled edamame beans
½ cup peas
handful snow peas
handful pea sprouts

for the dressing:
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Make the dressing by whisking together the wasabi paste, mirin and olive oil, seasoned to your taste with salt and pepper, in a small bowl or jar until the wasabi paste is completely dissolved.

Blanche the edamame beans, shelled peas and snow peas in briskly boiling water for 1 minute, or until cooked to your liking. Drain and cool under cold running water.

Put the watercress, edamame, peas and snow peas in your favourite salad bowl. Pour over a little dressing, only about a tablespoon, and toss gently but thoroughly. Add a little more dressing, tossing again and again, until the everything is just barely slicked.

Top the salad with a bouquet of pea sprouts and drizzle them with a touch more of the dressing. Serve immediately.