Her hack for cutting peas is seriously genius.
I’m admittedly an Ina Garten fangirl. I record every single episode of the Barefoot Contessa on my DVR (although I’m sure I’ve already watched all of them at least once).
On Episode 5 of Season 5 (called “Make It Fast”), Ina makes herb-coated roasted salmon and chicken with shallots, plus three speedy sides: roasted tomatoes, sautéed sugar snap peas, and blanched haricots vert with herbed butter.
All of these sound absolutely delicious, but one thing in particular caught my attention: How Ina was prepping her sugar snap peas. I had to pause and rewind the episode a few times to watch (and rewatch) her technique. Ina used her paring knife to seamlessly strip the pea’s fibrous stem and string off in one single motion. It was pure genius—and so much better than my inept slicing-off-the-ends and leaving the string to be endlessly chewed at dinner, until it's finally discreetly spit into a paper napkin.
How had I never noticed this before in all my Barefoot Contessa binge watching?
Here’s a video that mimics her technique:
Anyone who’s ever had sugar snap peas with the strings still intact knows that they have an unpleasant texture that’s reminiscent of dental floss. But it's annoying—and time consuming—to sit there and try to cut the strings off every single pea, not to mention wasteful, if you're slicing some of the pea off with every string.
That's why I tend to just suffer through fibrous, tough peas. I wondered if I was the only person in the world who didn't know how to do this. Why had I gone my whole life snapping the ends off and ignoring the strings? I felt like I’d turned a new culinary leaf.
Thanks to Ina Garten, my life is changed, and I will never prep sugar snap peas the same way again.