Petits Pois à la Française Redux

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe is a grilled take on Petits Pois à la Française, one of my all-time favorite French bistro dishes. It's made from lettuce, onion, bacon, and fresh peas, which are then cooked in a rich butter and stock gravy. —QueenSashy

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: QueenSashy is a data scientist by day, James Beard-award nominated food blogger by night.
WHAT: A springtime salad that has us dreaming of bistros along the Seine.
HOW: Make a simple dressing out of mayonnaise, crème fraîche, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Pour it over an assortment of lightly charred spring vegetables and toss with seasoned bacon. Voila!
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is what other salads aspire to be when they grow up: Understated at first, then surprisingly interesting and completely irresistible. The creamy dressing holds the spring vegetables together without being overwhelming and the seasoned bacon provides another layer of flavor. Heck, this salad is what we want to be when we grow up. —Megan @Foodiocentric

What You'll Need
  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 20 medium scallions (about 12 ounces)
  • 3 hearts of romaine lettuce (about 12 ounce)
  • 10 ounces fresh green peas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Arrange the bacon slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with sugar and paprika. Bake until caramelized, for about 25 minutes. Let the bacon cool completely (the bacon will crisp as it cools) and then cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare the vegetables. Rinse the scallions and pat dry. Rinse the romaine and pat dry. Discard the outermost leaves and chop off the top 2 inches of the romaine head. Cut each heart of romaine in half lengthwise, making sure that the root keeps each piece together.
  4. Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, toss the peas with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a large sheet pan in one layer, and broil until the peas are lightly browned, mixing occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Place the peas in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Place the scallions on the same sheet pan in one layer, lightly brush with olive oil, season with salt, and broil for about 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly charred. Transfer the scallions to a cutting board or work surface and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut the scallions into 3/4-inch pieces.
  6. Lightly brush the romaine pieces all over with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil the romaine on the sheet pan until lightly browned in spots, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer the romaine to a work surface and let cool for about 2 to 3 minutes. Chop the romaine into 1-inch thick strips. Discard the roots.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the peas, scallions, romaine, and bacon. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Transcendancing
  • healthierkitchen
  • Annie stader
    Annie stader
  • Judy
  • QueenSashy
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.

10 Reviews

Transcendancing October 10, 2015
Oh wow, this was great! I wanted to have it as a warm Spring evening dinner so added some poached chicken breast. Chicken was poached in water, vermouth, dollop of butter, a couple of crushed garlic cloves, some salt and pepper and a hefty pinch of mixed herbs. Turned out amazingly well and complimented the salad beautifully. I was wondering how the grilled lettuce would go, and I think it worked really well - not at all like the soggy lettuce you find in toasted sandwiches sometimes. I will definitely keep making this over the coming warmer months!
QueenSashy October 10, 2015
Transcendancing, I so want to be on your side of the globe, making spring dinners instead of fall :) I am very glad that you liked the recipe -- many thanks for letting me know!
Nancy May 10, 2015
First, this recipe looks and sounds lovely...a grilled variation - wow! Second, here's I first met this dish - in MFK Fisher's description of a hillside picnic with old and new family (parents visiting from California, new lover with whom she was now living) on a Swiss hillside.
QueenSashy May 10, 2015
Nancy, thank you... In a way I made this salad because of MFK Fisher… About three years ago Bubbys, a restaurant in my neighborhood, hosted an MFK Fisher-inspired dinner prepared by Tamar Adler, and a panel discussion with Ruth Reichl, Amanda and Merrill … Petit Pois à la Français was one of the items on the menu. I remember how I really badly wanted to go, but we could not get the tickets. Instead, I decided to make Petit Pois à la Français for dinner, bought the ingredients, and then changed my mind :)
healthierkitchen May 9, 2015
another fabulous recipe, Queen!
QueenSashy May 9, 2015
Thanks so much healthierkitchen!
Annie S. May 7, 2015
I tested this for the contest and we loved it! I used the small amount that was leftover cold on a sliced chicken sandwich.( I will literally put anything between bread to see what works!)
QueenSashy May 9, 2015
Thanks so much for testing the recipe. I never thought of putting it on the sandwich, have to say it is a mighty good idea and I must try it soon!
Judy April 26, 2015
Petits Pois a la Francaise - Reimagined for the 21st Century

I am always curious and a little skeptical when a recipe is "reconstructed". So, before beginning my test I read every recipe I could find for Petits Pois a la Francaise. Seriously, beautiful spring peas and lettuce braised in broth? This recipe is a new and improved version- start roasting all your peas, throw the lettuce on the grill and reimagine life with Petits Pois a la Francaise that tastes like Spring!
QueenSashy April 27, 2015
wow, what a review -- thank you!