9 Recipes to Make the Most of Snap Pea Season
Whether you grow them in your garden on a trellis or just buy heaping bags of them at the grocery store, you know just how short—and how sweet—snap pea season is. They don’t freeze nearly as well as sweet peas, so unless they’re fresh, snap peas are hard to come by. We don’t have any miraculous tricks or quick tips for actually lengthening their precious season (unless you count our pickled snap pea recipe), but we do have some suggestions for taking full advantage of their flavor and texture with these 9 recipes.
These aren’t the kind of pickle that will last forever (they’re good for about 3 weeks after you make them), but we welcome any cooking technique that lets us stretch snap pea season just a little further. The quick-pickling brine is infused with mint and fennel seeds to bring more fresh flavors to the mix.
There’s a reason crunchy yet tender snap peas often find their way into stir-fries—the high heat of a wok gives them a beautiful char. And mushrooms, which can easily withstand being cooked, held, and reheated, are just as well suited to the technique. In this recipe, ideal for a quick weeknight dinner, we stir-fry both ingredients simply with basil and a Southeast Asian–inspired sauce made of fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice.
For this stir-fry, we pair crispy snap peas with skirt steak, which we consider the best cut of beef for stir-frying due to its marinade-friendly loose grain and its thin, quick-cooking strip form. Marinate the beef after slicing it for the best texture. We use a traditional sweet oyster sauce for this recipe, blending oyster sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and Chinese rice wine.
When we want a quick-and-dirty pasta sauce, we often add butter to the cooking liquid, since it’s better than olive oil at emulsifying with water. But, with the addition of a bit of cornstarch, olive oil can emulsify just as well as butter—meaning that vegans can enjoy a creamy, smooth coating of sauce on their pasta just like everyone else. We put that approach to use in this dairy-free dish of crispy snap peas, ridged pasta, bright lemon, and lots of freshly ground pepper.
Why pick between sweet peas and snap peas, when you can pile both (plus pea shoots, asparagus, ramps, and/or any other spring vegetables at the farmers market that look good) into a single flavor-packed salad? We blanch each vegetable separately, then shock it in ice water so as not to overcook anything. A poached egg on top and a little acidity from a lemon vinaigrette tie it all together.
This recipe balances out the creamiest, cheesiest, most rib-sticking grits your mind can conjure with a solid dose of green vegetables—including snap peas, sweet peas, fava beans, and asparagus. To keep the vegetables tasting fresh, we blanch them before sautéing them in butter just long enough to form a good glaze.
Sure, you can find radicchio in stores all year-round, but it’s at its best right when sugar snap pea season begins. The sweet peas are a perfect match for the bite and bitterness of the radicchio, which gets charred under the broiler until its outer leaves are crisp. The fresh peas are tossed in a tangy yogurt dressing and served alongside the charred radicchio.
Here, we riff on the classic combination of snap peas and mint by adding yogurt, tahini, and harissa to the mix. The resulting salad walks a fine line between light and rich, cooling and spicy.
We love the combination of snap peas, mint, and yogurt enough to offer you one more recipe celebrating these three made-to-go-together ingredients. To make this salad, we shock the snap peas in ice water after blanching them, so they remain bright, sweet, and snappy. Then we toss them in a combination including yogurt, lemon juice, mint, and shallot.
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