Great Food Fast: Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms (For A Taste of Spring)

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It must be spring! Here in the Bay Area it’s gone from cold and rainy to sunny and hot in just a few days. When I imagine spring, I think of tender green vegetables such as asparagus, water cress and peas. And no pea is as versatile and easy to use as are sugar snaps.  If you’ve guessed that they’re a cross between Chinese snow peas and shell peas, you’d be right. The new variety was developed by a pair of plant breeders in Twin Falls, Idaho. Sugar snap peas are a lazy cooks dream, they don’t need shelling, and they stand up much better to high heat than delicate (although lovely) snow peas. Quick and light cooking methods are the way to go–I suggest either a brief blanching, or as in this recipe, a stir fry. Wash, and trim off the stem ends, that’s all the prep they need.  You could have this dish on the table in ten to fifteen minutes. Eat them right away though, they lose their charm if they sit around. The full recipe is after the jump.

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SUGAR SNAP PEAS STIR FRIED WITH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS AND GREEN ONIONS

Serves 4

8-9 ounces (about 3 cups)  sugar snap peas, stem ends trimmed

canola oil

4-5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, sliced thin (trim off stems first–save for use in stock)

1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)

2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/4 cup vegetable stock (preferably) or water

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste

2 teaspoons mirin, or to taste (optional)

1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold vegetable stock or water

Prep the veggies and assemble ingredients before beginning to cook.  Read all about stir frying here.

1. Heat a teaspoon or two of canola oil in a wok until very hot. Stir fry shiitake mushrooms and garlic, adding a pinch of salt,  3-4 minutes, or until the mushrooms are moist and savory looking.

2. Reduce heat to medium high. Add sugar snap peas and one half the green onions and stir fry one minute.

3. Add the soy sauce, mirin and 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock, cover and simmer two-three minutes, or until cooked crisp tender.

4. Add one tablespoon of the dissolved arrowroot or corn starch and toss for 30 seconds or until all is covered with a glistening glaze. Add an additional tablespoon of the thickening mixture if you want a thicker glaze.

5. Turn out into a serving dish and garnish with the remaining green onions.

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