Chef Brittany Valles’ Irresistible Sugar Snap Peas

Uncategorized By Jul 10, 2019

Brittany Valles, executive chef at Oak Grill at the Fashion Island Hotel, adores the bright flavor and crisp texture of sugar snap peas. Her fondness for these plump crescent-shaped beauties earned her the nickname of “sugar pea” in a previous job.

Both the pods and the rows of peas inside are edible, their vegetal taste edged in welcome sweetness. She appreciates their versatility and bright green color, whether eaten raw or briefly cooked just enough to make them just barely tender.

It’s the super-crunchy uncooked approach that she shows off in her delectable salad, a dish augmented with lemon yogurt and almond granola. The sugar snaps are tossed with a scrumptious agrumato-style olive oil, extra-virgin olive oil that is pressed with whole lemons. Seasoned with a little course salt, they sit atop a bed of Greek yogurt spiked with lemon.

A crown of nutty-sweet granola scatters on top, maple syrup balancing a judicious amount of onion powder and garlic powder mixed into the oats. The granola could also serve as a bread-less topping for other vegetables or creamy gratins.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Lemon Yogurt and Savory Almond Granola
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice and minced zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped raw almonds, see cook’s notes
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Cook’s notes: Frequently sugar snap peas have strings on top and bottom. To remove strings, with thumb and forefinger grab the stem end and pull along one side to remove string; grab opposite end and pull along the other side to remove that string. You can use a paring knife if you prefer

To remove skin from almonds – Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add almonds. Drain immediately in colander and rinse with cold water to cool them.  Blot with paper towel and gently squeeze almonds to remove skin.

  1. First make yogurt mixture so it has time to marinate. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, zest and salt in a bowl (this can also be done the night before and stored).
  2. Clean sugar snap peas by removing the stem and the pod strings (see cook’s notes).
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine syrup, oats, salt, olive oil, almonds, onion and garlic powder, and mix together. Spread out on a parchment-paper lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring and rotating pan halfway through. Allow to cool
  4. To plate: Toss sugar snap peas with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Spread lemon yogurt on the bottom of the plate and place the seasoned sugar snap peas on top. Finish by topping with savory granola.
    Source: Brittany Valles, Executive Chef, Oak Grill at Fashion Island Hotel, Newport Beach -Oak Grill is located at 690 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach
    Here’s a quick tip from Melissa’s Produce! Acorn squash is delicious roasted, especially if it’s topped with an olive oil-brown sugar-smoked paprika topping. Have a look and bon appetit!  (See how at the end of Chef Valles’ video.)

  5. Roasted Acorn Squash   Yield: 4 servings
    4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    2 acorn squash, washed, dried, halved top to bottom, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
    Coarse salt
    2 tablespoons roasted pepitas
    2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Marcona almonds
    Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar and paprika. Add squash slices and toss to coat. Place in singular layer on rimmed baking sheet; if any oil mixture remains in the bowl, spoon it over squash. Season with a little salt.
    2. Roast in middle of preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn and roast an additional 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and season with a little salt. Top with pepitas and Marcona almonds. Garnish with parsley if desired.

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