I don’t know where sugar snap peas have been all my life but now discovered I can’t get enough of them. I know that I’ve eaten them occasionally in Chinese food but had never cooked them. I’ve mentioned before the paucity of vegetables in my early life. Nearly every vegetable we ate came from a can. In the summer my grandfather had a vegetable garden but everything was allowed to get too big and then boiled to tastelessness. When we started our own garden in Andover we never even thought of growing sugar snap peas. We did grow peas but the task of shelling a mountain of pea pods and ending up with a little bowl full for our family of seven was too much work.
On Wednesday when I returned from my trip I was eager to get to the orchard and see if there were still strawberries. There were not only beautiful strawberries but baskets of sweet cherries, raspberries, and blueberries. And, right next to all the bounteous fruit were boxes of sugar snap peas.
I brought a box home and started checking cookbooks. My cookbooks have been around for a lot of years and I didn’t find many recipes but when I looked on-line, there were dozens. For the last three nights I’ve prepared them in three different ways. The sweet flavor and crunchy texture go perfectly with almost anything.
One night I sautéed them briefly with olive oil and fresh thyme, the next night with julienned carrots in a little sesame oil and a drizzle of honey, last night I used a bit of bacon fat and basil. Delicious in every case.
Tonight I think I’ll use butter and a bit of chopped fresh mint over them. I’m also thinking of other combinations. Maybe cumin seeds and then there are all the different herbs that abound in the summer.
They’re easy to prepare, I remove the stem end and in the bigger peas, I pull off the string along the back. I’ve been boiling them for exactly three minutes and then chilling them quickly with cold water. They’re ready then to be quickly reheated in a little butter or oil or orange juice or stock with herbs, maybe a bit of grated ginger would be good too. So many possibilities.