How To Give Sugar Snap Peas A Quick, Smoky Flair

Burning food is generally never the goal when cooking up a meal in the kitchen or out on the grill; However, when it comes to sugar snap peas, a little charring can be just the cooking method needed to transform the taste of these delicate but hearty veggies. Sugar snap peas are crunchy to bite into and sweet on the tongue but by giving them a little char, using nothing more than a cast iron pan and a little oil on the stovetop, you can make them even sweeter and impart a smoky flavor you won't soon forget.

Charring vegetables is not a new concept. Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and eggplant all taste better when they've been charred, and sugar snap peas are no different. This is because the intense heat used to char food causes a reaction with the sugars, amino acids, and proteins trapped in their outer skin. This, in turn, results in a flavor that is sweet and smoky on the inside, and slightly burnt on the outside with little need for dressing up with sauces and seasonings.

Char vegetables and fruit on the stovetop

Why use a cast iron pan instead of the grill to achieve the smoky taste of charring? The grill is great, but with a cast iron pan you don't have to worry about losing flavor. The pan is going to trap all the taste, juices, and aroma of the sugar snap peas in the pan. Not to mention, because cast iron is so good at retaining heat and keeping a consistent temperature, using this pan will give you an even char. 

While high heat is generally reserved for searing, sautéing, or simmering, it can also be beneficial for charring fruits and vegetables beyond snap peas, bringing out those sweet caramelizing flavors we know and love. You can work this smoky charred magic with a more delicate avocado, a tomato, or even romaine lettuce to create a salad. And if your mouth is craving something a little sweeter, try charring some plums, peaches, or mango in your cast iron pan, and serving it over ice cream or yogurt.