Herbed Sugar Snap Peas with Goat Cheese

Sugar snap peas are one of nature's finest treasures. As the name implies, they are naturally sweet, and their texture is crunchy. Because of that combination, they meld effortlessly with the other ingredients in this dish. The "snap" counters the creamy goat cheese, and the earthy tarragon contrasts perfectly with the vegetable's natural sugars.

Snap peas are available in the spring and fall and are especially good when they are just picked. If you can't find them, this dish works equally well and looks just as beautiful with fresh green beans. Simply cook the green beans about a minute or two longer than the snap peas.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh sugar snap peas, stems and strings removed
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cartons), cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound fresh goat cheese, such as Redwood Hill, cut into small pieces (if the goat cheese is particularly creamy, spoon it onto the vegetables; or use fromage blanc)


Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the peas and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.

2. In a large sauté pan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are limp but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the chopped tarragon and peas, stirring to coat the peas with the oil, shallots, and tarragon. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

3. Arrange the pea mixture, tomatoes, and cheese on a serving plate; garnish with additional tarragon. Do not mix.

Adapted from The New American Cheese, by Laura Werlin

Prep time: 
15 minutes
Cook time: 
15 minutes
Total time: 
30 minutes
Yield: 
Serves 8 to 10

  • A look at the history of sugar, from art and language to 3-D printing

    Darra Goldstein is editor in chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, an 888-page reference guide to all things sweet. "The book is really a compendium of human desires, a cultural history of desire for things that are sweet and what it has caused in the world, in both the realm of pleasure and also of pain," she says.

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A history of confetti from The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets edited by Darra Goldstein.