Tag Archives: Sugar Snap Peas

Sweet Pea Dreams and a Quick Slaw with Sugar Snaps

Peas, alas, are not a spring vegetable, despite what legions of food writers would have you believe. It is wonderful to think of things like spring pea risotto and minted pea soup for Mother’s Day, but unless you are lucky enough to live in a really temperate climate, you’ll be waiting for fresh peas until late June with the rest of us.

I feel bad being a Scrooge about this. Actually a super-Scrooge, as, these days, I can’t really even get behind those so-called fresh peas (usually already shelled) that arrive in the grocery stores before they do in my garden. I’d rather eat frozen peas. (And I do.) The reason is that shell peas–or English peas–lose that just-picked sweetness rather quickly and wind up tasting bland and starchy when they travel many miles to get to you.

So right now I have to content myself with staring at the squat little pea seedlings in my garden, imagining what they’ll bring me. I’m very proud of them, actually. Yesterday I noticed that they’ve started unfurling their little tendrils and have obligingly begun to grab on to the curtain of strings I hung for them. Such good peas.

The other way I’m getting my pea fix right now is with sugar snap peas. I’m seeing a lot of nice ones at the grocery store. Yes, these come from far away, too, but at least they hold on to their flavor—and texture—better than shell peas. Sugar snaps are probably the number one quickest veggie on the planet to cook—or just eat. Because, of course, you can munch on them raw (like Cocoa Bunny, in photos below), toss them in a hot pan for a super-quick sauté, or slice them to use in salads and slaws (like the one below).

I get a kick out of slicing sugar snaps on the diagonal, exposing the cute little cross-section of peas inside. (I know, I’m easily amused). But these pretty little slivers are useful, too—they add sweetness and crunch, but not too much bulk, to a fresh slaw. Since I happened to have some Savoy cabbage, a few limes, and a bunch of cilantro in the fridge today, I knew I could make my favorite slaw and embellish it with sugar snaps. This recipe (I did a version of it in Fast, Fresh & Green) honestly takes no more than 10 minutes to make, and then reaches its perfect state of crunchy/wilty balance after another 10 minutes or so (though it can hold a bit longer than that). It’s versatile, too. Today I wanted a slightly creamy feel (something to do with the grey skies), so I stirred in a dollop of Mermaid Farm yogurt at the end.

I ate a whole bowlful of this slaw standing up at the kitchen counter, but if you were moved to make some this weekend, you might want to serve it with grilled butterflied leg of lamb, grilled chicken, or even grilled veggie or fish tacos.

Quick Savoy Slaw with Sugar Snaps, Lime & Cilantro

For a printable recipe, click here.

The amounts of lime juice, sugar, and cilantro are flexible here—taste after a few minutes and adjust seasonings if you like. I sometimes add sliced scallions or chives here, too. Savoy cabbage is the crinkly green one.


8 ounces very thinly sliced cored Savoy Cabbage (about 3 1/2 cups)

4 to 5 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal (about 1 1/3 cups)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 to 3 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 to 2 tablespoons full-fat plain yogurt (optional)


Combine the cabbage, snap peas, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss thoroughly with tongs or two spoons. Let sit for ten minutes, tossing occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings if you like. Let sit another ten minutes for a softer slaw. Fold in the yogurt if desired.

Serves 4


Cocoa wasn’t so sure about the sugar snap pea…but curiosity prevailed

Three Reasons to Celebrate: Baby Goats, Sugar Snap Peas, & A Second Printing

I watched a goat give birth this morning. It was maybe the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

I was going to blog about something else today. Actually yesterday. And then yesterday went by and now today has, too. That is how my life goes these days, here in my new world. When I get up, I think there is something so important to do that I must focus entirely on it—be productive, get it done, do my work.  But the universe always has other plans for me. And if I just remember to pay attention to that, I get to experience the most amazing things.

So while Roy and I went over to the farm especially early this morning—ostensibly to water and harvest and be out of there by 8—Basil and Snowflake, two pygmy goats, had other plans (the goat pen is right next to our vegetable garden). By the time we got there, Basil had given birth during the night to two healthy kids, both females (does). One was a little grey and white patchy thing, already cleaned up and awkwardly skipping and hopping around like a tipsy gypsy. She even managed to climb on mama’s back.  The other little girl was black with white ears, and she was much bigger (and less squirmy) than her sister.

Snowflake was in labor. Never having given birth myself, I wasn’t exactly sure by her bleating and writhing what the whole timing scenario was! Fortunately, Randy and Rebecca (the farm owners) soon arrived to check on Snowflake. Randy had been up during the night helping Basil along with the second kid, who needed a small tug to get out. Basil, though, as it turns out, is a veteran Mom. For Snowflake, this was the first time.

Randy talked soothingly to her, but let her push. Two little white hooves followed by two little black legs appeared. And then, as we all stood watching (Snowflake had positioned herself in the breezeway of the shed so we could all see), swoosh!—the kid spilled out in a tidy (wet) bundle. Not a few seconds later it lifted its head and squiggled in the hay. Bravo Snowflake!

The second kid apparently followed not long after. I missed that but came back with my camera a short while later in time to watch Snowflake lick them (a little black doe and a little black buck) clean.  Even though I had emptied the chip in my camera, I still ran out of space after a half-hour or so. I was mesmerized.

Frankly, I was just as excited about the goats (and the appearance of the first sugar snap peas in the garden) as the other news I was going to blog about—that the second printing of Fast, Fresh & Green arrived in warehouses yesterday.

I have to admit, I have very mixed feelings about bragging about my book. I wasn’t brought up to flaunt success, and yet I know two things: One, I didn’t do this book all by myself, and the folks who helped me deserve to share in the good news. I owe it to them (and these are not the people who are logging on to Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis, so they are not going to see the reviews) to keep them updated. Secondly, I know what it feels like to be grateful. In my post midlife-crisis world, not only do I get to be present for a lot of cool stuff, but I also get to know that terrific feeling of gratitude—of knowing you’re the recipient of good karma that you’re not necessarily wholly responsible for.

So to celebrate Fast, Fresh & Green (and those sugar snap peas I’m going to harvest for the farm stand tomorrow!), here’s a quick recipe, Sautéed Sugar Snaps with Salami Crisps. It’s one of my very favorites in the book for its inarguable simplicity.  And for anyone with lots of time on their hands (that’s you, Mom and Dad!!) who would like to see some of the recent coverage of FFG, there’s a list of links after the recipe. I’m particularly grateful to the articulate Tom Philpott of Grist.org for acknowledging my primary goal—to encourage people to cook at home more.  To me, there’s no better way to practice being present—and grateful—than spending time cooking (and eating) at home every day with friends and family.

Sautéed Sugar Snaps with Salami Crisps


1 ounce very thinly sliced Genoa salami

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound sugar snap peas, tails removed

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Stack the salami slices and cut them across into ¼-inch wide strips. Pull the strips apart and spread them in one layer on the cutting board; they are much easier to add to the pan when they are not clumped together.

In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat the 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot (it will loosen up and spread out), add the sugar snap peas and season them with the 1/8 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas turn bright green, blister, and begin to turn a very light golden brown in spots, about 3 minutes. Add the salami strips and toss well.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are browned in spots on both sides and the salami strips have shrunken, turned a darker brown color, and feel crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. (The salami will probably be crisp on the edges but still somewhat pliable after 3 minutes. You can stop at that point if you do not want to cook the peas further, but I like the texture of the fully crisp salami, and the peas stay crisp even when cooked more.) Transfer to a serving platter or dinner plates.

Serves 3


Here are links to some recent reviews of Fast, Fresh & Green.This is only a partial list and my thanks go to the many bloggers who have taken FFG for a test spin and enjoyed the ride!

How to Be Fast, Fresh & Green in the Kitchen (Grist)

To Market, To Market: 10 Top Summer Cookbooks (NPR)

Book Report: We Pick 11 New Cookbooks (Washington Post)

Ideas For What to Do With Summer’s Bounty (Associated Press)

Favorite Cookbooks: Fast, Fresh & Green (Eat Well, Eat Cheap blog)