Summer is here! On Saturday, at our farmer’s market, I had a moment of panic. Looking at all of the fresh fruits and vegetables finally available to me, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t cook and eat it all. There is just SO much right now: berries, peppers, greens, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs! In a couple of months it will all be gone, at least the stuff that grows locally. Time is of the essence.
This summer I have been gravitating toward recipes that don’t require much work. In part because it is easy, in part because it allows me to prepare more food in a shorter amount of time. This simple preparation of snap peas is a good example. Adding some mint oil and salt to a cup of snap peas transforms them into one of the best snacks I have ever eaten. Honestly, we couldn’t stop and this recipe that was supposed to serve 6 people was devoured by Bryan and and me over the course of the afternoon. One of Bryan’s least favorite things is when people say that a particular food is “addicting“. So I’ll just say again that it is very difficult to stop eating these snap peas.
The recipe is from Modern Mediterranean by Malia Marden. It is a strange cookbook that, after initially distrusting, I have grown to really like. It is the least chef-y cookbook written by a chef that I’ve ever read, which is a compliment. It makes me like Marden and the book quite a bit. The food is all quite simple, the sort of recipes you want to make right away. Every time I pick up the book, I end up hungry. It’s worth checking out.
Minted Snap Peas (adapted slightly from Melia Marden)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 fresh mint sprigs
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
- 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 1/2-1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Test the temperature by dropping in a mint leaf; if the oil is hot enough, the leaf will sizzle on contact. Drop the mint sprigs (stems included) into the oil, cook for 30 seconds, then remove the saucepan from the heat. The mint should sizzle, fry, and become crisp but not burnt. Let cool completely, then fish out and discard the mint.
Bring a large pot of water and the kosher salt to a boil. Set up an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and cold water. Add the snap peas to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. It’s very important not to overcook the snap peas; you want them to lose that raw taste but still be bright green and crisp. Drain and transfer to the ice bath immediately.
Drain the snap peas and divide them among four small chilled bowls. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoons of mint oil per bowl. Sprinkle with the fresh mint and sea salt and serve.