The Improvisational Cook

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In her latest cookbook,The Improvisational Cook, Sally Schneider offers advice on how to cook in a fun and spontaneous way, use the existing ingredients in your kitchen without (gasp!) a recipe.
Sally is also the author of the award-winning cookbook A New Way to Cook. A former chef, Sally is a regular contributor to radio's "The Splendid Table," and writes a syndicated newspaper column for Universal Press Syndicate called "The Improvisational Cook." Sally has written for numerous publications, including Food & Wine, Saveur, Real Simple, Self, and Metropolitan Home. She lives in New York City.

More information about Sally’s cookbooks, tips and recipes are available from her website.

Sugar Snaps with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Shaved Parmigiano
Serves 4

4 cups sugar snap peas (about 12 ounces)
Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing
1 garlic clove, bruised, then cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
One 2-inch strip lemon zest, cut into thin slivers
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 ounces Parmigiano in 1 piece

Slice the vegetables. With a chef’s knife, cut the sugar snap peas on an extreme diagonal into thirds or halves, discarding any tough stem ends. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the dressing. Rub the cut side of one of the garlic halves over the inside of a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Spear both garlic halves with a dinner fork. Using this as a whisk, drizzle in the olive oil until the sauce has formed a thin emulsion with a subtle garlic flavor; discard the garlic.

Dress the vegetables. Up to 1/2 hour before serving, add the sugar snap peas and lemon zest and toss to coat; season with pepper to taste.

Garnish with the cheese. Just before serving, using a mandoline or Benriner or a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmigiano into paper-thin shavings. Scatter over the peas and toss gently.