i hate peas.
i hate peas.
they're no asparagus.
but they can actually be pretty good.
in other words, m.f.k. fisher is a god.
or, at least, her recipes are godly.
i'll stop yammering on now.
here you go.
purity may have something to do with a vegetable love, but is almost certain to have nothing to do with a love of vegetables, since petits pois à la française have been known to appeal to the lowest as well as the loftiest emotions of at least one hardened sinner.
there is, of course, an excellent recipe for this naive and delicate dish in escoffier and many another cookbook. and like many another cook i seldom pay any attention to it. instead i fit the ways to the means: i use uniformly mediocre frozen peas in preference to unpredictably uneven market peas, if i cannot pick my own from a now vanished garden. if i have my own lettuces i am happiest, but i have often settled, with silent resignation, for a small tight head of tasteless "alaska" (which is insultingly called los angeles lettuce in salad-happy san franciso!). i use salted butter, for want of the sweet. and so on and so on. my petit pois more-or-less à la française always please me ... as long as i manage not to have the telephone ring at the moment they should be done, and let them turn pale or puckered.
petits pois à la française
½ cup water
1 head lettuce
6 green onions
2 pounds peas
¼ pound good butter
salt, fresh pepper
put water in heavy casserole or pot; shred lettuce coarsely into it; add onions split and cut in 2-inch pieces, using tops; chop parsley and add. put peas on this bed, and put chunk of butter on top. cover tightly and bring slowly to boil, shaking now and then. lower heat, let cook for about five minutes, and serve at once, mixing all well together and seasoning to taste. there should be almost no liquid. more butter can be added at the last if desirable (fisher 296-297).