Petit Pois a la Francaise – Fancy French Peas
Green peas. Was there ever a more humble vegetable? Trust the French to take this little green gem and make it a masterpiece in the classic Petit Pois a la Francaise. Or as I like to call them, Fancy French Peas. Please, don’t skimp on the butter.
As French classics go this is one of the simplest, and yet perhaps the most lifechanging. Even if you loath peas, this smells soooo good, and tastes soooo good you won’t even care that the key ingredient is peas. Salt pork (cooked to a crisp), sweet shallots and peas in a light stock-based sauce loaded with butter, then finished with lightly wilted lettuce. Lettuce?! Yes… lettuce.
To me this is a real tribute to garden freshness, a way to make the simple pea a superstar. Petit Pois a la Francaise recipe compliments of the French Chef in my life, who growls when I lean over his shoulder to take a photo, but I do it anyway. Even the vegetable phobic 6 year-old ate these peas — and asked for more. (Nearly fainted. Who IS she?!)
Petit Pois a la Francaise Recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: four to six
8 ounces salt pork
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1/3 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup butter or bib lettuce, thinly cut
1. Blanch your salt pork: place salt pork, whole, into a small pot covered by COLD water. Bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. A foamy scum will form on the top of the water, skim this off with a spoon as needed. Simmer for about 7 minutes then remove salt pork from water, rinse it under cold water and allow to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, cut into lardons (pieces approximately 1 centimeter square by 2 centimeters long).
2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized pot. Add the shallots and sweat them about two minutes, then add the salt pork lardons and continue cooking until golden. Add your peas and stock, season. Cook, uncovered, until peas are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining butter, then the lettuce and stir through. Remove from heat and let stand for a minute to wilt the lettuce.
Taste test for seasoning (and deliciousness) and serve.
Gypsy Note: No salt pork? Fine. Use a good double smoked bacon sliced across the rasher to make a nice chunky piece, cook and drain it well. I won’t tell. It’ll be our little secret.