Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon Zest and Fresh Mint

Fresh sugar snap peas are available only for a limited time in late spring. Even though you can find them frozen year-round, there's absolutely no comparison to the sweet and flavorful crunchiness of a fresh snap pea. Check out your local farmers market and look for young and tender snap peas when they're in season. Snap peas are less fibrous than regular English peas and are entirely edible, "pod and all". They are excellent raw as part of a crudites platter with your favorite dip or quickly blanched or stir-fried. Sauteing the peas for only a few minutes will help maintain their crunchy and crisp texture, yet fully release their subtle sweet flavor. Best of all, you'll have this delicious spring dish on the table in less than ten minutes.
Biting into a crunchy sugar snap pea laced with tangy lemon zest and fragrant mint leaves makes you taste and smell spring like nothing else. I like to serve this simple dish as a side with stuffed chicken breasts and a rich and creamy potato and leek gratin.

Serves 4

1 pound sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped

In a large heavy skillet heat oil. Add shallots and saute for about 2 minutes or until translucent, stirring constantly. Add sugar snap peas and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until crisp tender. 
Stir in mint and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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