Ingredient Spotlight: Sugar Snap Peas

We haven't seen these yet on the East Coast, but we know you lucky Californians have sugar snap peas in season. They are one of our all-time favorite green vegetables, and they have a cute French name, too...

Sugar snap peas are often called mange tout, meaning "eat everything," since the peas as well as the chubby little pods are edible.

We make do with sugar snap peas from a bag in the grocery store, since they show up for about 12 minutes at the farmers' markets in New York. And we have to say, even out of a Dole bag, they are pretty spectacular. They don't need salt, they don't need to be blanched, they don't need a dip. They are sweet and have such a satisfying crunch. We almost always eat too many while making dinner and end up with too few for our dish.

There's rarely a need to trim them before you eat. You may want to snip off the very tip or pull the string down the side if it's tough. Eat them hot or cold, in a green salad or pasta salad. Or be like us and eat them straight from a bowl as a snack.

Some recipes to try:
Pork Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas, from the Kitchn
Snap Peas with Meyer Lemon and Mint, from the Kitchn
Risotto with Sugar Snap Peas and Prosciutto, from the Los Angeles Times
Sauteed Radishes and Sugar Snap Peas with Dill, from Bon Appétit
Chilled Soba with Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas, from Gourmet

What's your favorite way to eat sugar snap peas? Is anyone growing them this year?

Related: Cooking By Feel: Asian Flavor Combinations

(Image: Flickr member EraPhernalia Vintage, licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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