Alex Chang at the Exchange downtown contributes a festival salad with a tart tomatillo-based pipian sauce — traditionally made with pumpkin seeds — and blends in pistachios instead, which also add crunch as a topping.
The Exchange’s Spring Pea Salad with Pistachio Pipian
Spring Pea Salad with Pistachio Pipian
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Submerge the snap peas and shelled peas in the boiling water. Return to a boil, then boil for 1 minute. Drain, then immediately transfer to the ice water. Let cool for 2 minutes, then drain again. Pat the peas dry with paper towels.
Thinly slice the snap peas at an angle and toss them in a large bowl with the shelled peas, pea shoots, mint, lime juice, olive oil and one-half teaspoon salt until evenly coated.
Spread the pipian dressing on a serving platter, mound the salad on top, and sprinkle with the pistachios.
Pistachio Pipian Dressing
Make the pipian: Place the tomatillos, onions, chiles, tarragon and pistachios in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the onions are tender but don’t yield completely when pierced with a fork, 25 to 30 minutes.
Reserve a quarter cup of the cooking water, then drain and transfer the solids to a blender. Add the spinach and salt and blend until smooth, adding cooking water by the tablespoon to loosen, if necessary. The sauce should be quite thick. Stir in the lime juice, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.