"It's hard to improve upon a perfect sugar snap pea," says Gjelina chef Travis Lett. "The question for the chef is, how do you not screw it up?" Lett's answer is to keep things simple, by cooking the sweet peas with fresh mint, crushed red pepper and soffrito (an aromatic Italian mix of sautéed minced vegetables, usually used to flavor soups and sauces).
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup torn mint leaves
How to Make It
In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion and bell pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the soffrito is tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the snap peas and cook over high heat just until they are bright green, about 2 minutes. Add the soffrito and cook until the snap peas are lightly browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and 1/4 cup of water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes longer. Add the torn mint and season with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.