The first batches of sugar snap peas have just made an appearance at the local farmers’ markets and I couldn’t be happier. The vibrant colors of spring and summer produce from Nichols Farm immediately grabs my attention even as I entered from the sidewalk farthest from the stand. I walk past several vendors, each with their own offerings — honey, artisan breads, strawberries, and flowers to name a few. I couldn’t help but head directly to the biggest booth in terms of size and color spectrum.
As if framed by tables containing rhubarb, green garlic, and fennel, the sugar snap peas get to have its own table in the middle of the stand. I hover around the guy giving out sugar snap samples trying to play it cool and pretending to be uninterested. I wanted one bad. Eventually I get noticed so I get my first taste. As the name implies, the snap peas are crisp and have a refreshing quality from the watery sweetness of the pods.
Adding raw sugar snap peas to salads and cold pasta always works nicely for me, but a little bit of heat wouldn’t hurt. Keep the cooking time to a minimum and the seasonings sparse. You wouldn’t torch a piece fine of cheese or fresh mangosteens would you? Oh, wait.
Barely Cooked Sugar Snap Peas, 3 Ways
- Blanche/Parboil in salted water for about a minute and shock in a bowl of ice water. This intensifies and locks in the bright green color and removes the raw pea taste which some people may find offensive.
- Stir-Fry briefly in a lightly oiled wok over high heat. Add your favorite stir-fry ingredients but keep it simple. A splash of soy and a few drops of sesame oil should do the trick. Sugar snap peas also make a fine substitute for snow peas, a flatter variety used frequently in Chinese cookery.
- Add to a hot soup.