This salad can be adapted for just about any assortment of fresh vegetables, but for optimal results, try to create a contrast of flavors and textures.
- 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup pine nuts
- 6 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 2 lb. fresh peas, shelled to yield 2 cups
- 1⁄2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1"–2" pieces
- 1 bunch watercress, washed and chopped
- 3 bunches mâche, washed and trimmed (or 1 head baby bibb lettuce, washed and torn into pieces)
- Leaves from 1 bunch celery
- 3 small stalks celery, sliced paper-thin
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 4 scallions, white parts only, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a small amount of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring, until brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Return skillet to heat and, if necessary, add more oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Meanwhile, char pepper over a flame or under a broiler, turning to blacken all over. Place in a paper bag, close, and steam 15 minutes. Rub off skin, cut in half, remove core and seeds, and dice. Set aside.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and green beans, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook briefly so that both peas and beans retain a little crunch, about 4 minutes. Drain in colander and stop the cooking by running under cold water. Pat dry.
Combine pine nuts, shallots, pepper, peas, beans, watercress, mâche, celery leaves, celery, fennel, basil, parsley, and scallions in a large salad bowl. Mix together lemon juice and remaining oil in a small mixing bowl and drizzle over salad. Toss well and season to taste with salt and pepper.