According to Andrew Carmellini, two-time James Beard Award-winning chef and the culinary brains behind The Dutch in New York City, the perfect bite is all about texture and contrast. Case in point: This sugar snap peas recipe topped with sun-dried tomatoes, radishes, herbs, and drizzled with lemon dressing. “It’s about the crunch of the peas, the sharpness of the citrus, the green mint freshness, and the sauce’s savory, tangy sweetness,” he recently said during a panel at Club Monaco’s new monthly epicurean-oriented conversation series “Food Stories.” Top with a thick sauce, sprinkle on some cheese, and—voilà!—perfection. Read on for the recipe.
Sugar Snap Peas with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Radishes, and Herbs
For the Peas
1 lb sugar snap peas
For the sauce
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Sriracha or Tabasco sauce
For dressing the snap peas
4 radishes, sliced thin
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped into small pieces
8 fresh mint leaves, chopped into small pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grated zest 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (2 tbsp)
For finishing the dish
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
To prep the snap peas
1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
2. Clean the sugar snap peas by snapping off one hard tip, grabbing the edge of the “string” that runs across the top, and pulling it off, then snapping off the other end.
3. When the water is boiling hard, plunge the snap peas into the pot. (Make sure the water is really boiling when you add the peas—you want them to be bright and crisp and crunchy, so they need to cook fast.) Blanch the snap peas for about a minute and a half, until they turn emerald green and their flavor has mellowed a little bit (they should still taste pretty fresh). If you let the snap peas sit in the water too long, the outsides will turn slimy.
4. While the peas are blanching, make a “bath” of ice and water.
5. When the peas are ready, pull them out of the pot with a strainer and plunge them right into the ice water bath, to stop the cooking process. Leave them in the ice water to cool completely.
To make the sauce
1. While the snap peas are cooling, put the sun-dried tomatoes in a blender. Add 1 ¾ cups of hot tap water, the garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, tomato paste, and Sriracha. Blend everything together on high speed for about 1 minute, until you have a smooth, sun-dried-tomato-tasting orange paste. (You’ll have a little more sauce than you need for the dish, but this is the best way to get the right proportions).
2. Cool the sauce down in the fridge for 15 minutes or so: you don’t want to pour hot sauce on your cold snap peas. (The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to a month).
To make the dressing
1. Drain the water from the snap peas. Add the radishes to the bowl and mix the vegetables with your hands, so you’ve got an even mix of radishes and snap peas.
2. Add the basil, mint, salt, pepper, and olive oil to the bowl.
3. Zest and squeeze in the lemon zest and juice, and then mix everything together well, so that all the radishes and snap peas are coated evenly.
To finish the dish
1. Pull the sauce out of the fridge, and use a spoon to spread it thickly over the bottom of a serving plate.
2. Pile the snap peas and radishes on top of the sauce.
3. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese generously over the top, and serve this up right away.