As a culinary school student in Paris, I remember clearly one class where we were to make the classic French dish of "petit pois a la Francaise (peas in the French style)." It sounded posh, and turned out to be, but it triggered something in me; had I ever eaten these peas, and if I had, when?
Later, as I gathered the ingredients together, I remembered that this was a dish my lovely late mother used to make for us. It was also her sneaky way of getting us to eat our greens as she included shredded lettuce, scallions, and in the summer, fresh parsley, all from my father's vegetable plot. So here are my mother's creamed peas, which are not a scrap different from any French recipe except you may find bacon and small onions are added to some versions, both excellent and also worth trying. Serve them alongside meat or fish—or if you feel like it, just eat them with a spoon. They are good all on their own. —Elaine Lemm
Test Kitchen Notes
If not eating immediately, store the peas in the refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours; they will become very thick but gently warm through on low heat. Do not freeze.
No fresh peas? Substitute with frozen but cook for a minute less. —The Editors
4 as a side
fresh garden peas, shelled
small shallot, finely chopped
scallions, thinly sliced
Little Gem lettuce leaves, shredded with a chiffonade cut (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In This Recipe
Start by cooking the peas in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 6 minutes, until just cooked. Drain and set aside.
Melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and gently simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and again, gently simmering, reduce by half. Add the peas and stir to coat them in the cream sauce. This thickening should take between 5 and 7 minutes.
Add the scallions, the remaining butter, and if using the lettuce, add to the peas and cream. Stir, then simmer gently until the cream thickens and coats the vegetables, 2 to 3 more minutes.