The second love affair of the summer: sugar snap peas

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Remember when I was in love with ramps? Well, not to say that I still don’t love them but they’re waaaay out of season. It’s a spring veg; we’re in August now peps!! However, if for some reason one of my farmers market vendors sprung up with a bumper crop of ramps, I’d snatch them up in an instant. But, I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. So, until then, it’s time to find a replacement. That was really really (really) easy though. It’s all about the sugar snap pea: one of my favorite vegetables for as long as I can remember. Mmmm sugar snap peas.

Not to be confused with shell peas (bigger, you only eat the peas inside and the shell is incredibly tough) or snow peas (very flat-not my fav at all), sugar snap peas are, I think, the perfect vegetable. They are delicious raw, when you can pop them like (healthy!) candy, or cooked, when you can also pop them like (healthy) candy. I like them both ways so much that when I buy them I can’t decide whether I want to eat them raw or cooked-they are so frickin fantastic both ways!! Normally, I set out to cook up some for dinner and eat about half my portion raw while de-stemming. The best of both worlds! However, as much as I love eating them simply raw or a quick saute alone, I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to enjoy my love and feed my addiction of sugar snap peas (.

So, lucky me when I was putzing around one day online, wasting time while waiting for some cookies to bake, I was looking at my favorite Smitten Kitchen (honestly though-I have gotten sooo many recipes and inspiration from her, this is no surprise) and looking at her Flickr photos-yeah, I was bored. What!? And I saw this picture of sauteed sugar snap peas along with radish slices. That single picture alone made my mouth water and almost made me throw out those cookies and find some sugar snap peas asap. I needed to make that dish. And sauteed radishes along with the peas? That is a combo that I needed in my belly.

The following Saturday, I made my weekly trek to the farmers market, still gross and sweaty (and quite smelly I might add) from my morning long run, where I found the most gorgeous and bright bunch of radishes I’ve ever seen and then spent about 10 minutes picking out perfect sugar snap peas. This hasn’t been the best season in New York for sugar snap peas-lots of shriveled and brownish ones due to drought, so extra time has to be spent finding good ones. But they are important to me-oh so important. A sub-par sugar snap pea will not be passing these lips anytime soon. So, I got my ingredients and headed on my way.

A few days later I set out to get cooking and feed my sugar snap pea addiction with a new and fresh combo. I snapped off the tough end and pulled out the little vein that runs along the side of all the peas (make sure you do this!!!!) and washed them up, and sliced thinly my radishes along with a shallot. Ms. Smitten had shallots in hers, so I was not going to question her move (like I ever would) and added them in mine too. I decided to cook the shallots and radishes longer than the peas because I wanted the peas just slightly cooked and still crispy. No soft sugar snap peas for me! So, I sauteed the shallots and radishes in a small drizzle of olive oil for about five minutes-enough time to soften up the radishes and take out their bite-then added in the sugar snap peas and cooked the whole thing for about 2 minutes more. Topped it off with a little salt and pepper and that. is it. So easy.

And the verdict? I wasn’t sure how the radishes were going to taste sauteed and I’ve never actually had them cooked, but they were actually really good! The spiciness that can be often too strong in radishes was gone and they were kinda sweet. Totally delish and went oh so very well with the wonder that is a sugar snap pea. Oh those sugar snap peas-when sauteed so briefly like that, it just can’t get any better. Sweet, crispy, peeeeerfect. And the shallots just topped the whole thing off perfectly. It was a great little, simple dish, perfectly highlighting seasonal veggies and a great vehicle for my one true love: sugar snap peas. I’m getting all the peas I can get in until they go out of season, which is coming way too soon. Anyone know where I can find an off-season sugar snap pea dealer? I’ll go into any dark alley for them come winter. Just let me know if you have any, um, connections…

9 Responses to “The second love affair of the summer: sugar snap peas”


  1. 1 VeggieGirl August 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Hooray for a great verdict on the dish/sugar snap peas – looks fantastic!!

  2. 2 Alice (in Veganland) August 3, 2008 at 2:25 am

    I love cooked radishes! But I think I’ve never tried sugar snap peas… how sad…

  3. 3 chandra August 3, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I LOVE sugar snap peas!! Definitely an addict.

    And I’ve never had cooked radishes…

  4. 4 lindzakins921 August 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    LOL ~ “I’ll go into a dark alley for them”… you crack me up🙂 Your description and picture look phenomenal!

  5. 5 arielle August 4, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I have never read Smitten Kitchen before. I can’t believe it. Now I’m not going to get any work done today.

  6. 6 glidingcalm August 6, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I loveeeeeeee sugar snap peas! But like Chandra… I’ve never tried cooked radishes! Looks delish though!!!

  7. 7 Heather August 6, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Those look great! I don’t think I’ve ever had cooked radishes… weird. As far as out-of-season snap peas- aren’t they available frozen all year round? But I guess they might not taste as good.

    PS- I just tagged you… just check out my blog if you want to participate🙂

  8. 8 lindzakins921 August 7, 2008 at 4:32 am

    you’ve been tagged🙂

  9. 9 melissa August 7, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Sugar snap peas are amazing. Even the frozen ones for the winter time.

    How is training going?


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