Culinarian James Beard was an early fan of the sugar snap pea.
Unlike regular garden peas, the sugar snap is the modern invention of two Montana scientists. When introduced in 1979, Beard raved in the New York Post that the newfangled pea with the round, edible pod was “nothing short of sensational.”
Peas With Sesame Vinaigrette combines two types – shelled, fresh-then-frozen garden-variety peas and sugar snap peas – into a cold salad with an Asian-inspired vinaigrette.
A note in the James Beard Foundation newsletter archives offers this advice for removing the strings from sugar snap pea pods: “With one hand, hold a snap pea so the concave side is facing you and the stem end is facing down. With the other, use a small, sharp knife to cut just below the very tip of the pea and pull toward you, removing the string in the process. Rotate the pea so the stem end is facing up and the concave side is facing away from you. Now cut just below the tip of the pea and pull toward you, removing the string along the spine of the pea.”
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Peas With Sesame Vinaigrette
2 cups frozen peas, partially thawed and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 medium stalk celery, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pour lightly salted water into a medium saucepan to a depth of about 1 inch. Heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the peas and cook 2 minutes. Add the snap peas and cook 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cool water, drain again and place peas in a serving bowl. Stir celery and shallot into peas.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle vinegar mixture over peas to coat.
Serve immediately, or cover, refrigerate and serve chilled.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.