Hot summer days evolve into lovely summer evenings. The sun mellows in the sky and temperatures drop to a comfortable warm. It’s the perfect time of day to dine al fresco and to entertain company. Keep the evening enjoyable and effortless, by preparing a simple menu that can be made ahead. Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing is just such a recipe. It’s easy to prepare and it can be made earlier in the day. Plus, it’s delicious, visually appealing, and a great accompaniment to grilled meats.
Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing
The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook by Anna Pump and Sybille Pump
4 pounds sugar snap or snow peas
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1. Blanch the peas in a large quantity of boiling water just until they turn bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and plunge the peas into very cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again. Transfer the peas to a mixing bowl.
2. Place the sesame seeds in a large skillet over medium heat. Tossing lightly, toast until golden brown, and add to the sugar snap peas.
3. In the same skillet, heat the sesame oil until smoking hot. Remove from heat and add the red pepper flakes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
4. Pour the oil over the peas, add the salt, and toss to blend.
5. Transfer the peas to a deep bowl or platter and serve hot.
1. I purchase jars of pre-toasted sesame seeds at Asian markets and store them in my freezer. No need to defrost them. Just add them directly from the jar to whatever you are making. If you are toasting your own, keep an eye on them while they are in the skillet. Because they contain oil and because they are small, they can burn quickly.
2. Sesame seed oil is a thick and heavy oil. A little bit goes a long way. That being said, I felt the recipe called for too much of it. The next time I make this recipe, I will start with half the amount.
3. Stir the red pepper flakes into the hot oil and keep stirring. Some of my pepper flakes burned as they sat in the hot oil. Stirring them might have helped prevent burning.
4. Although the recipe says to serve this hot, it also says that it can be served cold. In my opinion, room temperature is best.
5. The recipe can be prepared without the red pepper flakes if you prefer, but I think the little added “kick” really makes the dish.