Today on Good Food, Evan talks to Molly Stevens about her latest book All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art. While the book features plenty of meat recipes, the section on roasted vegetables is especially inspiring as the Spring produce shows up at Farmers Markets. Keep reading for her recipe for Quick-Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Salt…
Quick-Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Salt
Fresh sugar snap peas are so sweet, tender, and crunchy that I can hardly resist munching them out of hand, but they are never more delectable than when quickly roasted in a hot oven. The pods stay crisp and their sugars intensify as they bronze up in the oven’s heat. They make a delicious alternative to steamed peas alongside roast lamb or poultry. I also like to serve them at room temperature as a vegetable salad.
Toasted sesame salt (gomasio), a traditional Japanese condiment, is sold in little jars in Asian markets, but it’s easy enough to make at home. Plus when you make it yourself, you can be sure the sesame seeds are fresh. I like to make a double or triple batch and use it to season everything from popcorn, to salads, to hardboiled eggs and seafood.
Method: High heat
Roasting time: About 12 minutes
1 pound sugar snap peas
2 tablespoons white or black sesame seeds, or a mix (preferably not hulled)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oven. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 475 degrees (450 degrees convection). If desired, line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
String the peas. Check to see if the peas have strings—a fibrous thread that runs from the stem end to the tail end of each peapod. Do so by snapping off the stem end with a paring knife or your thumbnail and pulling down toward the tail end. If you pull away a thread that runs down the seam of the pod like a zipper, then the peas need to be destrung. Check both the inside and the outside curve of the pod, starting at the tail end and pulling up as you check the second side, removing any strings as you go. If there are no strings (some snap pea varieties are stringless), simply trim off the stem ends.
Make the seasoned salt. Spread the sesame seeds out in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring almost constantly, until fragrant and, if using white seeds, lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes total. (If using hulled white seeds, expect them to toast in less than 1 minute.) Immediately pour the seeds onto a plate to cool. When cooled, combine them with the salt in a mortar or spice grinder. Grind together to form a coarse powder. It’s okay to leave some sesame seeds whole for texture and appearance.
Roast. Arrange the peas on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Roast, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the pods are slightly bronzed in spots, beginning to shrivel, but still crisp, about 12 minutes.
Season and serve. As soon as the peas are ready, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame salt. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.