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Sugar snap peas

When I was a kid, my grandmother lived with us for several years and planted a little garden that ran along the perimeter of our house. She was an incredibly capable woman who grew a large variety of vegetables for her own family of eight children back in Taiwan, so it was easy for her to coax a few small crops from our suburban soil — pungent garlic chives, warty bitter melon, some Asian greens, and a couple of others. My favorite was sugar snap peas. I loved everything about them — the lush green leaves, the delicate vines and tendrils, the tiny trumpet-shaped caps that crown the tops of the pods. Most of all, I loved sitting with my grandma and sister in the kitchen with a mound of sugar snap peas in front of us, snapping all the tops off before we rinsed them and stir-fried them, sizzling and piping hot for dinner.

Our urban apartment isn’t very conducive to growing anything — it doesn’t even have a balcony — and my parents have since let the garden go, so I’ve been visiting the farmers markets quite a bit lately. Sugar snaps are in season here and just about perfect right now. They’re at the peak of their sweetness and crunchiness; wait too long and they’ll be tougher and blander like the kind they sell at the grocery store.

My grandma cooked everything simply, which is always the best way to showcase the flavors of garden-fresh vegetables. Snap the tops off the sugar snap peas, pulling off the tough-ish fiber along the side of the the pod. Rinse. Saute in a bit of olive oil till they turn bright green; they should be crunchy and never allowed to reach the soft or mushy phase. Sprinkle with sea salt. Serve hot, but they’re good cold, too.

2 Comments

  1. Cat wrote:

    I always loved snapping peas with my grandmother too. :)

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 10:15 am | Permalink
  2. Budget Babe wrote:

    what a great ode to the sugar snap pea! we grew and ate green beans more often than sugar snaps, but i love them just as much. they’re adorable as far as veggies go. and delicious.

    Friday, June 20, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

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