Try this when you have really tender fresh peas. They’re steamed lightly under lettuce leaves with butter and herbs and come out flavorful and sweet. Our friends Cathy and Michael showed us this recipe using straight-from-the-garden peas in Maine. It’s a classic French method that’s easy and beautiful and makes a wonderful side dish for just about any meat or fish. The steamed lettuce is delicious, too. This version uses sage, but other herbs like mint or thyme would also be good.
Freshly shelled peas, three or four cups
Two or three knobs of butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Handful of sage leaves, coarsely chopped
Lettuce leaves to cover the pan in one or two layers
1. Spread the peas evenly in a wide, low-sided pan with a lid. Nestle the butter in with the peas; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sage.
2. Wash the lettuce thoroughly and spread the wet leaves over the peas. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan.
3. Turn the heat on medium, cover and cook for three or four minutes, until the peas are just tender. Serve with the warm, wilted lettuce mixed in.