Peas à la Française

The French really know how to do vegetables. So do the Chinese, for that matter, but today I’m making peas inspired by a French recipe I’ve made over the years.

The recipe is essentially braised peas, but lettuce is included. I wish I knew the origin of using lettuce because it does seem a little odd, when lettuce is so ubiquitously used for fresh green salads. But in a braise? It works well too! I also used pearl onions for a prettier presentation. It takes a lot for me to use pearl onions, because I despise peeling them. But this pea dish was to accompany beef Wellington.

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Peas à la Française
This recipe serves 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
About 10-12 pearl onions, peeled
1 head of butter lettuce, leaves cleaned and separated

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1 – ounce package of frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup chicken broth or some white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chopped fresh parsley
Diced Prosciutto (optional)

Begin by sautéing the pear onions in the butter over medium heat. I let the butter brown first, then turned down the heat slightly. They went from looking like this:

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To looking like this in about 5 minutes times.

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Meanwhile, layer the lettuce leaves on top of each other, then roll them up like a cigar. Then using a knife cut cross-wise to make a chiffonade of the lettuce.

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When the onions are browned like in the photo, add the lettuce and sauté it for just a minute, along with the onions.

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Then add the peas and give everything a good stir. Pour in the chicken broth or whatever liquid you choose to use, add the salt, bring the liquid to a light boil, then cover the pan with a lid.

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Let the peas cook for about 5-6 minutes, then remove the lid and cook off any excess liquid. Add the parsley and stir in.

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If you want the peas more seasoned, a 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme would go lovely, as well as tarragon, if you’re a fan. But I left them alone. Except when I served the hot pea and lettuce braise, I sprinkled the vegetables with some diced Prosciutto. It was a perfect combination!

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As you can see, I made these peas to serve alongside my beef Wellington for a special occasion dinner for two. It was perfect, if I may say so myself!

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By Published On: February 11th, 201435 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

35 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller February 11, 2014 at 8:19 AM - Reply

    I love peas and that’s just one of the best ways of eating them!

    • chef mimi February 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM - Reply

      Frozen peas work well for this, but fresh would be lovely as well!

  2. nowathome February 11, 2014 at 8:56 AM - Reply

    I have never made peas that way. Will try it!

    • chef mimi February 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Reply

      Would be better with fresh peas, but they’re really hard to come by, even in the summer!

  3. DellaCucinaPovera February 11, 2014 at 9:19 AM - Reply

    Anything with proscuitto gets a big high five :) These look great.

  4. {Main St. Cuisine} February 11, 2014 at 10:32 AM - Reply

    What a wonderful way to make peas. It looks simple to put together, but very elegant. I saw that you noted frozen peas would work well, but do you think frozen pearl onions could be substituted? I can’t always find fresh in my area. Lovely recipe – thank you!

    • chef mimi February 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM - Reply

      I imagine they would work. I’ve never used them before, but they’re probably peeled so that would be a plus!

  5. Dolly Rubiano February 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM - Reply

    Likewise, I find cooking lettuce odd. I wonder if using cabbage instead will work for this recipe too? I need to get me some pearl onions. They look fantastic!

    • chef mimi February 11, 2014 at 1:18 PM - Reply

      I don’t see why not. The lettuce has no flavor, tho, so you’d definitely be adding flavor with cabbage…

  6. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward February 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM - Reply

    These look amazing, mimi – rich and caramelized.

  7. tinywhitecottage February 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM - Reply

    Interesting I just saw this! I love to braise peas and just bought peas and pancetta at the market 2 days ago. I’m going to go back and get the pearl onions and butter leaf lettuce and try your recipe! Sounds wonderful.

    • chef mimi February 12, 2014 at 6:26 AM - Reply

      Oh great! There’s something really special about this dish.

      • tinywhitecottage February 13, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        I made your peas-a-la-francaise and they were something special. Thank you for the recipe we really enjoyed it tonight for dinner. :)

      • chef mimi February 14, 2014 at 8:34 AM

        Oh nice! I’m glad you liked them!

  8. ladyredspecs February 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM - Reply

    This is a classic for a good reason, it’s seriously delicious! It’s been a while since I made this too. Another recipe to revisit!

    • chef mimi February 12, 2014 at 6:26 AM - Reply

      Yes, you’re absolutely right! It’s so good.

  9. annauk1 February 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM - Reply

    What a beautiful way to cook peas! I mean, I like them plain too, but like this? Absolutely another level.

  10. apuginthekitchen February 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM - Reply

    This is one of my favorite ways of enjoying fresh pea’s. Beautifully done.

    • chef mimi February 12, 2014 at 6:26 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I’m just glad it works with frozen peas.

  11. Karen Kerr February 12, 2014 at 1:01 AM - Reply

    These look delicious!

  12. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs February 12, 2014 at 5:45 AM - Reply

    Beautiful… xx

  13. saucygander February 12, 2014 at 11:09 AM - Reply

    This sounds delicious, and do-able too. I have seen braised lettuce on menus in Hong Kong, I think, but have not yet tried those dishes.

    • chef mimi February 12, 2014 at 3:54 PM - Reply

      Interesting!!! I still prefer lettuce in salads!

  14. anotherfoodieblogger February 12, 2014 at 5:08 PM - Reply

    I bet our French foreign exchange student here would enjoy me making these for her! I’ll have to ask her if she likes peas. I did find out already she doesn’t like spinach.

    • chef mimi February 13, 2014 at 8:46 AM - Reply

      Darn. That’s too bad about spinach. I bet that’s a fun experience. Never did it, we just didn’t have the space.

  15. charlespouvreau2014 February 13, 2014 at 7:29 AM - Reply

    Lovely pictures here Mimi! The colors are really beautiful. I almost made peas for lunch to go with my steak, but then a friend dropped by and insisted I made mashed potatoes instead…

    • chef mimi February 13, 2014 at 8:41 AM - Reply

      Well, there’s nothing wrong with mashed potatoes, is there?!!!

  16. charlespouvreau2014 February 13, 2014 at 7:33 AM - Reply

    My grand mother always put sugar in her peas. I do the same. Besides that, my recipe is identical to yours without the letuce… I also put a little baking soda to help along with the digestion process… :)

    • chef mimi February 13, 2014 at 8:40 AM - Reply

      You are truly French! My mother does both of those!!!

  17. eastofedencook February 13, 2014 at 10:51 AM - Reply

    The lettuce and peas are so lush! I can’t wait for all the fresh spring vegetables!

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