Spring is here. As I write I am sitting in a sun beam from my living room window. It feels so good to have sunlight warming my skin. As much as I love a cozy sweater and blanket, I aspire for warm afternoon rays and no jackets needed. All this warmth and spring feels like a dish of sugar snap peas I made just last week. When I passed by the market on my way home after work the salesman pointed out to me that the sugar snap peas were just in. At one glance I could see that they were plump and their skin had that new green vibrancy about them that you naturally only see about now in nature. I love that color, and I love sugar snap peas! I filled a bag of them along with some herbs and headed home.
Now I am sure most people eat raw sugar snap peas in a veggie and dip platter. I too have enjoyed them like that, but to limit them in this single way is a bit offensive. There are a multitude of ways to serve a sugar snap pea. I like to toss them into stews and stir-fries, I snack on them raw, and I have on occasion thinly sliced them and tossed them in a chopped salad. But my most favorite way to make them is quickly sauté them in a bit of olive oil. Just enough so that the outside of the sugar snap pea sears, but it’s texture keeps it’s integrity.
Now you can serve the sugar snap peas just like this, or you can compliment them. Seasoning and pairing food with other items from the same growing season is not only your safest bet, but a beautiful one. So with these sugar snap peas, I tossed them with some herb oil I made from herbs that were fresh from a nearby farm and really bright in flavor. The handful of chives, parsley, dill, and marjoram that I finely chopped and tossed in some olive oil will brighten up any dish. As the sugar snap peas were done searing I added a bit of the fresh herb oil to the pan and tossed it all together. I then dropped in a few spoonfuls of fresh ricotta cheese and sprinkled it with sea salt to taste before I served it up. It tasted bright — just like spring was popping in your mouth. We ate it as a little appetizer just before dinner was ready; but this serves up just as well as a side dish too. Give it a try and see what spring tastes like. I hope I can still get some sugar snap peas that are as plump and fresh like these were. This was so tasty I would love another serving.
Spring Herb Sugar Snap Peas (serves 2 - 4)
3 - 4 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup (packed) fresh herbs (I used a mix of parsley, dill, chives, and marjoram)
1/4 cup fresh ricotta
sea salt to taste
First, place your herbs on a cutting board and roughly, yet finely chop your herbs. Place them in a bowl and pour about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of olive oil over it and stir well. Set is aside.
Next, heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Once heated through add in about 2 - 3 tbsp of olive oil. Once the olive oil is heated through toss in your sugar snap peas. Let them sizzle and sear a bit. Give them a gentle toss until all the sugar snap peas are gently seared and heated through. (About 5 minutes.)
Then, remove from the heat and spoon a bit of the herb oil over your sugar snap peas at a time. Toss them gently until they are all well coated together. Once the herb oil is coating the sugar snap peas add your ricotta a small spoonful at a time.
Finally, place the sugar snap peas on your serving platter carefully without breaking up the ricotta too much. Sprinkle it with sea salt to taste and serve.