This is another “traditional” side dish that appears to have infinite variations on the absolutely correct way to prepare it; of course to me that’s just a challenge! I have had this, “in the French way” or “à La Française”, made with Pearl Onions. And I’ve had it with Scallions, and with and without Carrots and with a variety of lettuce types not to mention with frozen and fresh peas. With the exception of the frozen peas, any of these alternatives could have been in the original dish.
Unless you’re preparing this to be served at the French food booth at a Renaissance Fair, you’re not likely to get a lot of push back from the people to whom you serve this. The point is to start with an excellent combination of flavor bases and perfect or refine them to suit your own preferences.
The heart of the dish, as I present it here, remains. The heritage is unchanged although the execution and ingredient specifics have been altered to fit my particular tastes.
But most importantly, it’s a really great way to eat peas!
Petits Pois à La Française (Baby Green Peas)
Servings: 4 Preparation Time: 10 Minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
• 2 Slices Thick Cut Peppered Bacon, cut into ½” pieces
• 2 Shallots, quartered
• ½ Carrot, cut into 1½” long match-sticks
• 2 Cups Baby Green Peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
• ½ Cup Chicken Stock, hot (110º F)
• 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
• 1 Small Head Butter Lettuce, cut into ½” wide shreds
Step 1. Set a sauté pan over medium heat, add the Bacon and cook until the fat begins to melt then add the Shallots and Carrots and cook for 1 minute.
Step 2. Stir in the Peas and Chicken Stock and cook until the Stock is reduced by half.
Step 3. Reduce the heat to simmer, add the Unsalted Butter and stir to evenly distribute.
Step 4. Remove the pan from the heat, top the contents with the shredded Lettuce and fold the hot Peas over the Lettuce until it just begins to wilt. Serve immediately.
Tips and Trending
~ If you are using very fresh peas from the pod, you have the opportunity to deepen the flavor of the Chicken Stock by adding the empty pea pods to the stock and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Let the pods steep covered until you’re ready to use the hot stock and then strain as you measure.
~ As an alternative serving method, instead shredding and folding the lettuce into the peas, plate a few whole leaves of the lettuce to form a cup and spoon the buttery pea mixture into the center and in between the leaves.