before we get to sesame ginger sugar snap peas, we need to take a moment. a moment to talk about snakes. so, apparently we have snakes in our garden. by “snakes”, i mean, at least one garter snake. and by “garden”, ha, well, i mean the part between where the grass stops and the front of the house starts. also now known as “the snake home”.
how do i know this? well, let me tell you. over the long weekend, my husband and i were working in the yard, mostly the back yard. at one point, i got bored chopping dead branches off the pine tree that is twice as tall as our house in the back yard and went to go find something more interesting to do in the front yard.
i surveyed the mashed up little shrubs by the front door that are on our list of things to get rid of, but decided they seemed like a pain to wrangle into a yard waste bag. instead, i decided to pull out a few tufts of very long weedy-grass stuff, since it would be easier to stuff in the giant paper bag. when i reached down to pull out the grassy stuff from its roots, something small rustled around underneath the dense ground cover that has taken over the “garden”. AND I WAS IMMEDIATELY DONE WITH THE FRONT YARD.
when i returned to the back yard and relayed this harrowing tale to my husband, he responded with, “oh, yeah, i’ve seen that garter snake. the little girl who lives next store saw him too.” UM, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! what kind of monsterhusband doesn’t warn me that our yard is infested (has one) with deadly (harmless) snakes?!? sigh. it’s a good thing said husband is otherwise wonderful…
what do snakes have to do with sesame ginger sugar snap peas you may be wondering? absolutely nothing. and that’s not the only reason i like these sugar snap peas! they are pretty easy and very tasty, which is my ideal balance for vegetable side dishes. minimal effort that yields lots of flavor. bonus points if that flavor is ginger + cilantro (or mint) + scallion. yum. and decidedly snake-free.
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 oz. (340 g.) sugar snap peas, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons water (measure out both tablespoons into a little cup in advance)
- ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger, see notes
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or fresh mint
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- set a large (12” / 30.5 cm) skillet with a lid (you’ll use it again to cook the peas and need it to be large and have a lid) over medium heat. add the sesame seeds to the dry pan and stir frequently until lightly browned (don’t use the lid yet). this takes about 3 minutes but keep the seeds in sight as they can burn quickly. transfer the seeds to a little bowl.
- set the empty skillet back on the burner and heat the oil over medium heat; have the lid handy. once the oil is hot, add the sugar snap peas and the water (add both tablespoons of water at once) and quickly put the lid on the skillet to trap the steam that is created. cook covered for 2 minutes, then uncover, add the ginger, and cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the sugar snap peas are crisp tender and the water has evaporated.
- transfer the sugar snap peas to a serving bowl and toss with the sesame seeds, lemon zest, cilantro or mint, and scallion. toss gently and serve immediately. leftovers keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, though the sugar snap peas may not be as snappy (crisp) and the herbs may darken.
i store peeled fresh ginger (in an airtight container) in the freezer because not only does it last for a very long time but also it makes it so much easier to grate, assuming you have a microplaner. just note that frozen freshly grated ginger is very fluffy, so be sure to pack it into your measuring spoon to make sure you’re getting the right amount.
adapted from cook’s illustrated’s sugar snap peas with sesame, ginger, and lemon zest (paywall), published in may of 2016.
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