Snap peas are a type of pod-fruit vegetable that thrives in cold weather conditions. These are often mistaken for snow peas as they may look similar on first glance but upon closer inspection, snap peas are rounder whereas snow peas are much more flat.
Each snap pea pod has about 3 to 5 peas.
Snap peas are rich in dietary fiber and contain a high amount of vitamin C. They are also a good source of Vitamins A and K, folic acid and a good number of minerals like calcium and iron. Zinc, copper, flavonoids, phytosterols, manganese and selenium may also be derived from this vegetable.
Flavonoids such as carotene are excellent anti-oxidants while phytosterols are excellent agents for lowering one’s cholesterol level.
How to Cook Snap Peas
Snap peas may be cooked and served on their own. They may also be part of the ingredients for a vegetable or pasta dish.
Fresh snap peas are pale green in color and are crisp in that you can easily snap them in two; although you don’t actually snap them when you cook them as the peas will come out of the pod. They however, may break just a bit when cooking especially once you’ve taken the string out.
Speaking of strings, snap peas have a string on each of their sides and you have to pull them out before cooking as you do not want that string surprising you in the mouth as you eat.
For ideas on how to cook snap peas, below are a few suggested recipes.
Roasted Snap Peas with Black Sesame Seeds
What You’ll Need:
One lbs. of snap peas, washed with strings taken out
One tsp. toasted sesame oil
One-fourth tsp. rock or sea salt
One-half teaspoon black sesame seeds
While you’re preparing the peas and seasoning, pre-heat oven to about 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine snap peas, toasted sesame oil and sea salt in a bowl. Place a single layer of the marinated peas on a baking sheet.
Put the sheet inside the oven and roast for about ten to fifteen minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the peas on the other side for even cooking.
Take out the snap peas and place in a bowl. Add black sesame seeds, toss and serve.
This recipe takes about twenty to twenty-five minutes to prepare and cook. Yields 4 servings.
Stir-Fried Snap Peas with Mint
What You’ll Need:
Two tsp. olive oil
Three-fourths pound snap peas, washed and trimmed
Three spring onions, chopped
One clove garlic, chopped
One tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium-sized skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When oil is hot enough, put in the snap peas, spring onions and chopped garlic.
Stir-fry for approximately four minutes. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Turn off heat before adding the chopped mint.
Plate the stir-fried snap peas and serve.
This recipe takes about ten minutes to prepare and cook. Recipe yields four servings.
Note: Each serving contains about 67 calories and 2.4 grams of total fat.
Snap Peas and Prosciutto Risotto
This dish is actually not complicated to make but it does take more than just a few minutes to prepare and cook.
What You’ll Need:
Five cups of chicken stock
Five cups of water
Four tbsp. butter
One-fourth lbs. sliced prosciutto, cut into about one-fourth inch thick
Two-thirds cup of onions, minced
Three-fourth lbs. snap peas, washed and trimmed; cut into about half-inch pieces
One pound short grain rice
Two tbsp. chives, minced
One-third cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Boil the chicken stock and water in a pot. Once the stock is boiling, reduce heat. In a separate pan, melt half of the butter. Cook the prosciutto in the melted butter for about two to three minutes.
Put in the onions with the prosciutto and cook for another three minutes. Add in the short grain rice and cook. Make sure to keep stirring the rice so it won’t get burned.
Once you notice a kind of translucent look to the rice, start adding the stock a little at a time – about half a cup each time.
Stir the rice constantly until the stock is absorbed. You should see just about a small coating of the stock at the bottom of the pan. Add another round of the stock. Repeat this process until the rice is thoroughly cooked.
Make sure that the rice is not mushy but just the right consistency. Cooking time for the rice would be about seventeen minutes. When you’ve poured in the last of the stock and the rice is just about cooked, combine the snap peas with the rice.
Add salt to taste if necessary. Cook for another three to four minutes. You should be noticing by this time that the rice is thoroughly coated with a creamy consistency of the broth. Turn off heat and then add the rest of the ingredients: chives, Parmesan cheese and butter.
Make sure to mix in all the remaining ingredients thoroughly to your rice mixture.
Total prep and cooking time is about forty-five minutes. This recipe yields eight servings.