Our garden group had preferred sugar snap peas hands down, but as our first vines started to flower lavender and purple, we realized that those wily yellow and purple snow peas had gotten themselves planted somehow. No matter — the trick is to pick them small and young and to get them into the pan fast. We have both English peas and sugar snaps flowering well in another patch of garden. It won’t be a long wait for them either.
Crunchy and delicate, snow peas can just be munched straight or maybe stroked through a light sour cream-chive-dill dip. They are beautifully colorful in a soft lettuce salad with red radishes for even more color. Snow peas also cook tender in the last five minutes of stirring a risotto or just by tossing them in the heat of cooked pasta.
I decided to combine my first (yellow snow) pea harvest with other spring vegetables for an Asian-style stir fry, along with asparagus and scallions. They all look so pretty against pink shrimp, and seasoning the mix with garlic and ginger lets the vegetable flavors come through nicely. Substitute a pound of 2-inch chunks of boneless chicken or pork if you’d like, or add a cubed block of tofu towards the end of the stir-fry for a vegetarian version.
Spring Shrimp with Snow Peas and Asparagus
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 12 jumbo shrimp, cleaned but tail on
- about a dozen asparagus spears, trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces
- about 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
- about ¼ cup scallions, chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin or sweetened rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- a few grinds of black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and the sesame oil in a wide pan. Gently sauté the garlic and ginger. Pat dry the shrimp, turn up the heat and sauté the shrimp until pink, less than 5 minutes. Set aside. Add one more Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Quickly toss and cook the asparagus, snow peas and scallions until tender. Add the shrimp back into the pan along with the soy sauce and mirin. Stir briefly. Sprinkle on the chopped cilantro, and season with black pepper. Serve with rice or other grain.
Serves 3 to 4.