Snap peas are available in the spring and fall and are especially good when they are just picked. If you can't find them, this dish works equally well and looks just as beautiful with fresh green beans. Simply cook the green beans about a minute or two longer than the snap peas.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are limp but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the chopped tarragon and peas, stirring to coat the peas with the oil, shallots, and tarragon. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
3. Arrange the pea mixture, tomatoes, and cheese on a serving plate; garnish with additional tarragon. Do not mix.
"It's sort of a funny thing for me to say as a restaurant chef, but my advice to my sons and to everyone is to cook at home at least most of the time," says chef Cal Peternell, author of Twelve Recipes.