snap peas & almonds in brown butter

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
7 minutes

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snap peas lemon

A subscriber stopped me at the grocery store the other day and said, “Do you ever stay home?” I guess I sound like I’m dashing around all the time, I think of myself as a homebody. But it’s true that I have been on the move lately and this weekend it was to Ashland, Oregon, where I was honored to attend the opening of the remarkable new play, Ghost Light. (For those of you who live in the Bay Area, it will be coming to Berkeley Rep in December and do not miss it.) The other remarkable thing in Ashland was the restaurant Smithfields, whose devotion to all things pig and cow is proudly stated on their blackboard with these words: “Bacon is the gateway meat.” What I found addicting was actually a vegetable, the snap pea and almond saute I had alongside my steak. The trick is to be quick…roll the snap peas and almonds around in butter then add a lemony element in form of preserved peel, zest, or sumac (a lemony spice). Way easier than most chef’s recipes.


kosher salt
1 pound snap peas
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon peel
or grated zest of 1 lemon
or 1/4 teaspoon ground sumac
freshly ground pepper


Fill a medium saucepan half full with water, add a generous pinch of salt and place over high heat. Set a large bowl of ice water on your counter. Put a colander in the sink.

While water comes to a boil, snap the tips off the peas and pull off the string if there is one. Drop peas all at once into boiling water and cook until bright green and tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain in colander then drop into ice water; when cold, drain again and pat dry. (You can do this up to a day ahead; refrigerate the blanched snap peas, covered.)

In a wide frying pan or saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides and the butter starts to color a bit, add the almonds. Cook, stirring, until almonds and butter are golden brown, about 1 minute. Throw in the blanched snap peas and cook, stirring, until the peas are heated through and glazed with butter, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat, stir in preserved lemon, lemon zest or sumac (you can actually use all 3 if you love lemony things) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve right away.