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Sautéed English Peas with Garlic and Sesame

A sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds adds a layer of nuttiness along with some crunch to bright, fresh-from-the-garden peas. Silky sesame oil provides another layer of earthiness, while the garlic contributes a pungent counterpoint.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 3 lb. English peas, shelled
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

Directions:

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate and set aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full with ice water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the peas and then immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let stand for a minute or two, then drain.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive and sesame oils. When the oils are hot, add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.

Add the peas, salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing and stirring occasionally, until the peas are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).