Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ember Cooked Snow Peas

Ember Cooked Snow Peas
Ember Cooked Snow Peas

Cooking directly on hot embers?  Are you kidding me?  No, I’m not and get ready to learn about a cooking method that is as old as man’s introduction to fire, pretty easy to master and offers phenomenal taste.  Once tried, you’ll experience what it can do to enhance great flavor from a wide variety of foods. 

Let’s start out with one of the most versatile vegetables available at just about any time of the year that can be used in both hot and cold side dishes and main courses- sugar snow peas!  In this article, we will offer instructions on roasting peas using a hot smoking method which brings out a great wood-fired flavor.  We know you’ll enjoy this approach!

      At least 1 lb of peas, I like sugar snap peas

      Almond oil

      Sea Salt & Fresh Pepper

      A charcoal smoker, any size will do

      A disposable foil pan or vegetable pan or basket that is high heat tolerant

      3 lbs. of lump hardwood charcoal

      1 cup SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® Wood Chips – Use Wild Cherry chip

Preparation, Fire Building & “Ember Readiness”

We’ll be using a Stok Drum Charcoal Grill for this series.  As the Stok has its own charcoal basket, there is no need to prepare any additional lump hardwood charcoal. We’re using a direct method of cooking.  Place the charcoal in the unit’s charcoal basket leaving the grate insert off for now.  Once the coals turn gray, lift the charcoal basket and allow the coals to advance into the cooking drum.  Then add SmokinLicious® GrandeSapore® Wood Chips in Wild Cherry to the coals – about ½ cup sprinkled over the coals.  Leave the grate insert off and use a sturdy, fire-resistant vegetable pan to go right over the top of the insert area.

Preparing the Peas

While the coals have been firing, start preparation on the peas.  We recommend using sugar snap peas for this recipe, there is very little preparation that has to be done.  First, remove all the string membrane that is attached to one side of the snap pea.  If any stems are left on, remove those as well.  Then, wash the peas in a colander and allow them to drip dry, shaking the colander occasionally to rid any excess water. If needed, pat dry the peas to ensure they are ready for the fire.  Then, sprinkle on some Almond oil, sea salt, and fresh pepper to the peas.  Now, we’re ready to wood fire!

Wood-Fired Ember Cooking

When the coals are hot and the wood chips are smoking, the peas are ready to be kissed by fire!  Place the vegetable pan on the center of the grill and leave the grill cover off.  When cooking with wood, know that some temperature fluctuation can occur due to the natural variation in combustion so don’t leave the peas unattended.  Once you see the peas start to char, give them a toss with a spoon to ensure an even char cook.

      Usually you will see char begin about 4-5 minutes into the cooking cycle.  Once that occurs, you will be looking at another couple of minutes before the peas will be ready to come off the grill.  Be sure you monitor that you don’t go too far with the smoking process.  If the peas begin to shrivel and wrinkle, you went too far.  You can remove them and place in an ice bath or run under cold water to stop any additional cooking from taking place.

      It’s so hard to explain the aroma that comes from the grill when you wood fire vegetables.  Keep in mind, that even when the vegetables are chilled, they will retain their char flavor. 

Finishing Tips

Try these tips for finishing these beautiful smoked sugar snow peas:
·         add some crumbled feta cheese and serve, or
·         a splash of lemon juice and dill, or
·         even a dollop of ricotta cheese that’s been whipped with a bit of cream.   

Ember cooking offers “a taste in itself” that really can’t be simulated by any other cooking method.  Your smoked sugar snow peas will treat you and your guests with an exquisite flavor that will certainly place ember cooking prominently in your culinary repertoire.  But, please before you impress others with this method, give a little thanks to our ancient ancestors who figured this out a long time ago while keeping a wary eye out for preying sabre tooth tigers and stampeding mastodons!  

Dr. Smoke & the Culinary Team 

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