Sugar Snap Peas for the family

Oct 3, 2008 at 2:02 a.m. ET

Sugar snap peas are delicious and make a great addition to many recipes. Here are some tips on preparing them at home.

Sugar Snap PeasAt the market: Select sugar snap peas that are firm, plump and bright green with no signs of yellowing (an indicator of dehydration). Many supermarkets offer sugar snap peas in packages that are washed and ready to eat. While these packages may a cost of bit more they do make serving fresh veggies a breeze.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to three days.

Preparation: Sugar snaps require no shelling or stringing. You may like to remove the cap end, but it is not necessary. They are delicious nibbled raw or just briefly cooked. Whether you are serving them warm or chilled, they are best blanched first.

To blanch sugar snap peas: Place them in pan of boiling water for two minutes. With a slotted spoon, move them to a bowl of cold water and ice. Drain the peas when they are completely cold.

Here are a few ideas for adding sugar snap peas into your family meals:

Sugar Snap Pea Saute : Add blanched sugar snap peas to a pan with a 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, warm the peas through. Toss in some chopped fresh dill and a little lemon zest. Serve warm.

Simple potato salad: Add diced, blanched sugar snap peas to store-bought potato salad (or make your own). Not only will your salad get a color boost, but the added crunch will be a sure hit.

Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pea Pasta: Shrimp and sugar snap peas are a divine color and flavor combination. In a large skillet, saut shrimp in olive oil until pink (to save time use cooked shrimp and just warm them up), add blanched sugar snap peas and warm through. Add cooked penne pasta and toss gently (you may want to add a bit more olive oil to coat). Toss in some chopped chives and fresh basil. Salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Oven-Roasted Sugar Snap Peas: In a bowl, toss sugar snap peas with olive oil. Spread peas in a single layer on a sheet pan. Season with salt. Place under a hot broiler until crisp-tender and lightly browned on the edges. Serve warm.

For smoked salmon lovers: Here's an interesting appetizer. If smoked salmon is not for you, serve the snap peas along with other raw veggies with the chive dip at your next party.

Smoked Salmon Wraps with Chive Cream Cheese Dip
20 Sugar snap peas, blanched
4 ounces smoked salmon, thin sliced

For the dip:
Store-bought cream cheese with chives, room temperature
Dash of garlic powder
2 to 4 tablespoons sour cream

Cut each slice of salmon into about 3 by 1 inch strips. Placed 1 sugar snap pea crosswise on each strip; roll up. Place on a platter and chill until ready to serve. To make the dip, blend all ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Serve salmon wraps with dip.