PHOTO BY MICHAEL PIAZZA
I can’t think of a springier dish than this one: crispy-skinned chicken thighs with peas two ways. A symphony of peas! And while local pea season doesn’t really start in earnest until mid-June (which, let’s face it, is still spring around here), beginning in May many markets sell peas from slightly warmer climates due south (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut), local enough in a pinch. In the absence of fresh peas, use frozen. And when local pea tendrils are available, add a few handfuls to the sugar snap salad for an even more pea-centric dish.
8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
2 cups fresh shelled (or frozen) peas
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
4 cups sugar snap peas, strings removed and sliced in half lengthwise on the bias
2 ounces sheep-milk feta cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Rub the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Arrange, skin side down, in a cold cast-iron pan and place over medium-high heat. Let the thighs cook undisturbed for 10 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Flip the chicken and place the pan in the oven for another 15–18 minutes, or until cooked through.
In a saucepan melt the butter and add half of the minced shallot. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and translucent, 2–3 minutes, then add the fresh (or frozen) peas. Sauté just until warmed through, 3–4 minutes, season with salt and pepper and scrape into a high-speed blender. Add ½ cup water and purée until very smooth; set aside and keep warm. (If you don’t have a high-speed blender, purée the peas in a food processor until as smooth as possible.)
When the chicken is cooked through, remove the pan from the oven, drizzle 1 tablespoon lemon juice over the top and set aside to rest, 5 minutes. Stir together the remaining shallot, red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste and the chopped dill. Whisk in ¼ cup olive oil, then add the sugar snap peas, feta and pea tendrils; toss to combine.
Serve the chicken with the pea sauce and salad on the side.
Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, soccer mom, Italophile and managing editor at Edible Boston. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.