Snow peas are available year-round, but they are at their most tender and sweet in the spring. The entire legume is edible, which accounts for the French name mangetout, meaning "eat it all." These are not to be confused with sugar snap peas, the crisp chubby pods filled with immature peas available at the same time of year. For this recipe, either variety can be used.
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the peas and simmer until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
If using the ground Sichuan pepper, sprinkle it on both sides of each salmon fillet, distributing it evenly.
In a wide, nonstick frying pan large enough to hold the salmon in a single layer without crowding, warm the corn oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the salmon fillets and cook until lightly golden on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn, season with salt and, if the Sichuan pepper has been omitted, with black pepper as well. Continue to cook until lightly golden on the second side and opaque throughout when pierced with a knife, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer the salmon to a warmed platter or individual plates and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Place the same pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the peas, green onions and ginger and toss and stir constantly until the green onions soften, about 1 minute. Add the sherry, soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid reduces by one-fourth, 20-30 seconds.
Remove from the heat and pour the vegetables and sauce over and around the salmon. Serve immediately.
Spring: Recipes Inspired by Nature's Bounty
by Joanne Weir
50 four-color photographs by Penina
Time-Life Books; March 1997
Reprinted by permission.
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