When I’m not teaching cooking classes, I volunteer as a garden educator for a non-profit organization called Growing Great. I help students at a local elementary school maintain a beautiful organic garden as well as teach them the fundamentals about growing vegetables and fruit. I think it’s really important that our kids know where our food comes from. I am fortunate to have grown up with gardens my whole life. My father has an unbelievable green thumb and we were lucky enough to be able to go to the backyard before dinner and find something that looked good enough to eat. Yet, no matter how many times I plant a seed in the ground, I am still amazed at what happens. With some sun, water and a little TLC, that little granule turns into a gorgeous plant that bears incredible-tasting vegetables.
This year our little school garden had a bounty of sugar snap peas. We picked baskets upon baskets of them to sell at the school’s annual farmer’s market, although we would have had pounds more but the kids couldn’t resist eating them straight off the vine. Far be it from me to discourage them! Sugar snap peas are always the most popular spring vegetable that we sell. They are even more sweet and juicy when they are freshly picked — a real treat! They are perfect raw in a lunchbox or as an afterschool snack. But I just love any peas when paired with mint. It’s a match made in heaven.
If you can find really fresh snap peas, you won’t have to do much to them to make them taste divine. This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and delicious in its simplicity. The only “work” here is trimming the peas and I usually have one of my kids do that.
Since the peas cook so quickly, I usually call everyone down for dinner and then turn the heat on under the pot. I can always count on a little bickering before everyone settles down to his or her seat, so the timing is perfect. Just keep to the short cook time. I do think snap peas are better with a little crunch. This preparation also works with carrots, asparagus, and English peas, too. If you mix a few together, you’ll just have Springtime in a bowl.
minted sugar snap peas
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced or 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
3-4 Tablespoons water
- In a medium saucepan, add all the ingredients. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
- Remove garlic if that’s what you used. Season to taste for salt. That’s all there is to it. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Notes: Sometimes I like to add the zest of one small orange, lemon or lime to the pot.