Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sugar snaps — those chubby, edible-pod peas — are among the first vegetables ready for harvesting in our early spring gardens. If you don’t have your own early spring garden, head to your local farmers market to get some freshly picked sugar snap peas from someone else’s.

If the peas make it all the way home with you, consider making this delightful dish for dinner. (They’re such a great raw snack, you may want to put them out of reach for the ride home.)

Because sugar snaps are so good raw or lightly cooked, I like to keep the preparation as plain as possible when I cook them. In this recipe, all you do is saute them lightly in olive oil, sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and add just a touch of a single herb. (You get to choose which one.) There; I just told you the whole recipe.

This is a great choice for cooks who hate to chop. Just snip the chosen herb with scissors.

Hints about this recipe:

• Choose only the freshest, tightest sugar snaps so they can cook very quickly and still be crisp, yet sublimely tender.

• Dried herbs will work in this recipe if you can’t get fresh ones.

Sugar snap peas with a single herb

The preparation time is about 5 minutes.

1 pound fresh sugar snap peas

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh savory or tarragon or mint or marjoram or thyme (pick just one)

Remove the tops from the peas and pull off the strings.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add peas, keeping heat fairly high.

Cook quickly for about 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the herb of your choice.

Cook quickly for about 1 minute longer.

Transfer to a bowl and eat as soon as possible, while they are still bright green, puffy and hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Mollie Katzen is the best-selling author of the “Moosewood Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press).


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