With their bright green hue and the fact that they are one of the first non-leafy vegetables to be harvested in spring, peas provide a refreshing change from a winter’s worth of root vegetables. The accompanying recipe triples the pea love by incorporating three kinds: sweet shelled peas, plump sugar snap peas and crunchy snow peas.
A warm miso-sesame sauce highlights the sweet-savory essence of the vegetables and adds an aromatic nuttiness. The sauce is easy to make. This inspired side dish goes perfectly with roasted or grilled meat, poultry or marinated tofu.
The miso paste lasts for at least several months, kept airtight in the refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to pick up a container. It adds unique flavor to a whole realm of soups, sauces and dressings. And you can use it to make this lovely sauce many more times throughout the year, because it enhances a wide variety of seasonal steamed vegetables including carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and sweet potatoes.
Mixed peas with miso-sesame sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger root, finely grated (2 teaspoons)
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup shelled fresh peas or frozen/not defrosted peas
8 ounces sugar snap peas (2 1/2 cups), trimmed and sliced in half on the diagonal, if desired
4 ounces snow peas (1 1/2 cups), trimmed and sliced in half on the diagonal, if desired
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the scallions and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the water, orange juice and rice vinegar; increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and stir in the miso until it has dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in the toasted sesame oil, then cover to keep warm while you cook the peas.
Bring a pot of water to boil that is fitted with a steamer basket. Add the fresh or frozen shelled peas, cover and steam for 1 minute, then add the sugar snap peas and snow peas; cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes or just until crisp-tender.
Transfer the cooked peas to a serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss to coat. Taste and season lightly with salt, as needed. Scatter the sesame seeds on top. Serve warm.
Nutrition per serving: 90 calories, 4 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar