This time of year, you can find three types of fresh, tender peas at their peak. English peas, also called garden peas, grow in fibrous pods and must be shelled before eating. Thin, crisp snow peas, on the other hand, can be eaten pod and all. Snap peas are a sweet, entirely edible cross between the two.
For all types, look for vibrant green pods with no bruising. English peas should be sweet and plump.
Peas add color and lively flavor to soups, salads, pastas, dips and more. All peas can be eaten raw, or try them lightly cooked.
Everyday Food magazine offers quick, healthy solutions for everyday meals -- from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. For more recipes and additional tips, visit www.marthastewart.com/everydayfood.
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Snow pea salad with shallot and tarragon
To speedily slice snow peas into ribbons, stack several pods and cut them all together. The strips don't have to be perfect.
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne or white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 pound snow peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper. Add shallot, peas and tarragon and combine. (To store, refrigerate, covered, up to 6 hours.)
Nutritional information per serving: 177 calories, 14 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 3 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 71 percent of calories from fat.
Chicken and snap peas
When time is tight, nothing beats a 30-minute meal made in a single skillet.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
31/2 to 4 pounds chicken pieces, patted dry
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Half-pound snap peas
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn and divided
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, until deep golden, about 8 minutes to 10 minutes. Flip chicken and remove pan from heat. Tilt pan slightly and carefully remove fat with a spoon. Return pan to heat and add garlic, vinegar, sugar and red-pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then transfer pan to oven. Bake 17 minutes. Add snap peas and half the basil and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining basil and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 534 calories, 29 grams fat (8 grams saturated fat), 53 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 49 percent of calories from fat.