Apologies to Dr. Seuss, but sweet green peas are a much better match for ham – and all of its salty, porky, cured cousins – than are green eggs. At least in my humble opinion. According to the printed record, I’m apparently a bit obsessed with this combination. Or at least I was before I got sidetracked by five years of a nearly full-time vegetarian diet. Thumbing through my books Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books, 2010) and Fresh from the Farm (Taunton Press, 2014), I see recipes for Sautéed Sugar Snaps with Salami Crisps; Bibb and Fresh Pea Salad with Herbed Buttermilk Dressing and Crispy Bacon; and Swiss Chard and Fresh Peas with Ham and Maple-Balsamic Sauce. Oy.

So I am up to my old tricks again, having gone back over to the dark side. I can’t say I’ve entirely resolved my feelings about pigs, but that’s beside the point. It’s pea season on Martha’s Vineyard, and while English peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas are all delicious raw, if you’re lucky enough to have a big stash of them (or if you stop by Norton Farm or Ghost Island Farm on a day they’re harvesting bushels), you might want to cook them.

Peas love butter, cream, and yogurt. They love the spring herbs they grow with – especially mint, but also chives and all of its allium cousins, such as scallions, spring onions, and leeks. The sweetness in peas loves the bright acidic hit of lemon, lime, or orange (especially zest). They seem to have a thing for little baby red potatoes. (Sometimes there is a serendipitous moment in the July garden when the last of the peas are on the vine and the first potatoes can be dug.) They also like mushrooms. In fact, a nicely browned crispy shiitake has enough umami to stand in for a meaty something  – like, say, bacon.

Which brings us back to the pea’s best friends: pancetta, prosciutto, salami, sopressata, ham, and bacon. And let’s not forget chorizo.

Chorizo circled back into my life when I recently began cooking out of Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest book, Ottolenghi Simple (Penguin Random House, 2018). I followed (mostly) a recipe for a dish of Tuscan (a.k.a. Lacinato) kale that features the intense flavor combination of chorizo, garlic, and smoked paprika with lemon and yogurt. I loved it so much that I started using chorizo and riffing on that flavor combination with all kinds of green vegetables, including sugar snap peas, as appears in the recipe at right. Ottolenghi calls for fresh chorizo, but I stumbled upon a really good selection of dried chorizo – including a Spanish import – at down-Island Cronig’s. (Up-Island usually has a couple too.) This style of chorizo is basically a cured salami flavored with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic. When you sauté or fry it, it becomes a bit crisp and a bit chewy, adding great texture to whatever it hangs out with, while infusing the cooking oil with lots of flavor. It’s best to slice it as thinly as you can so that the pieces lean more toward crispy and less toward chewy.

I have to inform you, however, of one small problem with the recipe I’m including. I am really fond of browning green vegetables for the great flavor that yields. Unfortunately, that means the sugar snap peas in this recipe are, well, brown. But all is not lost; I discovered that a handful of fresh (or previously frozen) shell peas and/or a bit of fresh mint at the end offer a colorful and sweet contrast to the earthy colors and flavors in the dish.

The following recipe was originally published along with this article: