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.
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
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:
To looking like this in about 5 minutes times.
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.
When the onions are browned like in the photo, add the lettuce and sauté it for just a minute, along with the onions.
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.
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.
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!
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!