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Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon-Chili Breadcrumbs

July 26, 2011

Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon-Chili Breadcrumbs

- Merrill

A few weeks ago, we took my husband's aunt and his two teenaged cousins, who were in town from Florida, to A Voce in Columbus Circle for dinner. Jonathan and I hadn't been there in a year or two, and while I recalled enjoying everything I'd eaten the first time around, the specifics were a little hazy.

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What I should have remembered -- aside from the ethereal homemade pastas, a killer salumi plate, and a very impressive wine list -- are the vegetables, or contorni as they call them at A Voce. The nightly selection is wide and varied, each vegetable at its seasonal peak, treated with appropriate deference and minimally touched so it can shine in all its glory.

On this visit, we happened to order two real standouts: paper-thin radish slices tumbled in a briny-but-not-too-fishy-for-teenagers anchovy vinaigrette, and bright green sugar snaps sautéed with breadcrumbs, lemon zest and a hint of chili. The sugar snaps were so delicious that we placed a second order before we were even halfway through our first.

Last week, I attempted to recreate this simple, perfect little dish. I added a little garlic to homemade breadcrumbs, which I toasted in a generous amount of olive oil, along with lemon zest and chili flakes, and I made sure to cook the peas just until they turned a vibrant green, without waiting for them to become limp and impassive. An important note: these are best served just out of the pan -- the breadcrumbs will quickly start to lose their crunch!

Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon-Chili Breadcrumbs

Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Large pinch dried chili flakes
  • Salt
  • 3 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed

See the full recipe (and save a print it) here.

Like this post? See Merrill's post from last week: Summer Berry Pudding


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.


90210 F. July 31, 2011
Never knew peas could be so sexy! You could probably give the same treatment to green beans, snow peas, and broccoli. Thanks fro the inspiration.

Merrill S. July 31, 2011
Yes, I think so, and you're most welcome!
Fran July 27, 2011
Lovely recipe - making it tonight with sugar snaps fresh from our Farmers' Mkt. I also zest like you do! Make sense to me. Can see the amount zested and also if you're hitting pith. :)
Merrill S. July 31, 2011
So nice to have a zesting partner in crime...
marleen.claeys July 27, 2011
Looks good !
Panfusine July 26, 2011
wow! lemon zest, chili & garlic over crunchy sugar snap peas... Can it get any more delish??
Merrill S. July 31, 2011
lbgirl July 26, 2011
This sounds wonderful! Keep the vegetable recipes coming. They're my favorite thing about this site!
Merrill S. July 26, 2011
Thanks, we will!
sharibrooks July 26, 2011
sounds great. I am going to replicate this recipe and I'm going to add some Old Bay seasoning for some more kick.
Merrill S. July 26, 2011
Sounds like an interesting addition!
EmilyC July 26, 2011
Oh my, what a beautiful dish. Love that you continue to recreate and share some of your favorite restaurant dishes with us. Hope that I can find some fresh sugar snaps to do this justice...
Merrill S. July 26, 2011
hardlikearmour July 26, 2011
I love your description of the anchovy vinaigrette. I guess I have a teenager's palate when it comes to fish ;)
Merrill S. July 26, 2011
I do too, actually!