Sunday, October 26, 2008

Petit Pois a La Francaise

Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking In Alaska is our host for Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have something that when I first laid eyes on them at the market I physically stopped in mid-step. Was I seeing things...are they really red skinned peas?

red-skinned peas© by Haalo

I haven't played around in photoshop to fiddle with the colour at all. From what I can gather and I don't have much information on them, they are just another variety of the common green pea - the major difference is that they have a deep red, almost maroon skin.

At this point, you may well be getting a bit excited wondering just what colour those peas are, so wait no longer. They are in fact...

red-skinned peas© by Haalo

a rather disappointing green. I shouldn't really say disappointing because fresh peas like these are so very hard to beat. When compared to the frozen form (and I would be lost without frozen peas in the off season) these taste as vibrant as they look.

The dish I'm making is a take on a bistro favourite Petit Pois à La Française - which is a dish made with onion, bacon, lettuce and fresh peas. Cooked in a good amount of butter which forms the sauce along with the cooking juices of the vegetables it's an ideal side for any occasion.


Petit Pois à La Française

500 grams peas, unshelled weight
1 leek, quartered and sliced finely
1 bacon rasher, cut into lardons (pancetta can be substituted)
100 grams Iceberg lettuce, shredded finely
salt and freshly ground white pepper

Place a generous knob of butter into a saucepan over a low heat and when melted add the bacon and leek. When the leek has softened but not coloured add the podded peas and cook until they are almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Add in three-quarters of the shredded lettuce and continuing cooking for a few more minutes. Add the remaining lettuce to the pan and cook until it has wilted. 

Taste and season with salt and white pepper as desired.


Serve at once with perhaps some baguette to soak up those buttery juices.

**Stop Press**

Next week is Weekend Herb Blogging's third birthday and Kalyn has ensured we're all in for a great time.  Make sure you read this post for all the details - You won't want to miss out on the celebrations.

If you are a bit unsure of who to vote for I offer for your consideration the following candidates:

votesage.jpg votepotato2.jpg votemango


  1. Oh wow! Another great entry with a very unusual ingredient. I haven't seen peas like that but Salt Lake has a new market with a fantastic produce section and today I saw some bright purple beans (like green beans but purple.) This market has at least types of vegetable I've never tried; should be good for many upcoming editions of WHB!

  2. these look so bizarre - what a shame you throw out the pods and no one would know any different when you serve the peas - you really need to use the unpodded peas for an amazing table centrepiece

  3. Incredible! And so beautiful, not disappointing at all.

  4. Thanks Kalyn - now that sounds like a great market that is just made for WHB! You occasionally get the purple beans here but its a real hit and miss with supply.

    Hi Johanna - yes, amaze your dinner guests with the table display and then cook them! Best of both worlds.

    Thanks Tanna - they are certainly intriguing.

  5. Not sure Karen but those Burgundy beans look great!

  6. Those pea pods look incredible, yes somehow disappointing to see the green pods inside. Congrats and Good Luck on taking over as the WHB hosting goddess.

  7. I must say that I did want the peas themselves to have at least a hint of red in them. Still, they do look beautiful! And delicious as well. It never occurred to me before that iceberg lettuce could be cooked.

    Are the outer husks at all edible - along the lines of sugarsnaps or snow peas? If not, I like Johanna's idea to feature uncooked peas in a centerpiece decoration.


    P.S. What a lovely idea for your 3rd anniversary voting. I'm tempted to echo your votes but oh my, it is going to be difficult to narrow the choices down!

    P.P.S. I'm very happy to learn that Kalyn has chosen such a worthy predecessor to host WHB.

  8. Augh!!! Kalyn is the predecessor (and very worthy she is too); of course I meant that you are exactly the right person to take over.


    P.S. Amazingly, I only speak one language: English. You'd think I'd know it by now.

  9. I love the purple pods and I love the finished dish. Simple, very French, and looks so very delicious.

  10. Thanks ISG!

    Thank you Elizabeth for your well wishes - you treat these pods as you would regular green peas, they are discarded. Iceberg lettuce does love to be cooked and I there's another cooked iceberg lettuce dish I'd like to write about.

    Thanks JS!

  11. good morning haalo!!
    what strange peas!! beatiful colour, I would like to use them to decorate an autumn table!! eh eh
    I just been at Kalyn's and read that you will take over the WHB.
    complimentiiii :)
    I'm vrey happy for you!!
    have a nice wwk..see you soon

  12. Your pictures are wonderful - I've never seen anything like these peas - you're right, they're show stoppers. Congrats on your new assignment - if you ever need any help, just let me know!

  13. Love the colour contrast between the peas and the actual pod. Oh, and another year of whb has pased already! I haven't had much of a chance to contribute much this past year :/

  14. Grazie Mille Brii!

    Thanks Laurie!

    Thanks Y - the year has just flown by, it's crazy.


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