This Braised Spring Peas with Lettuce and Mint is the essence of the season. Its fresh flavors compliment just about any other dish you serve with it. Beautiful and vibrant.
While visiting Monticello, I picked up Thomas Jefferson’s “Garden Book.” A journal filled with his gardening notes of the Monticello kitchen garden.
His entry for February 20, 1767, says, “Sowed a bed of peas.“ On March 9 he journaled that both of the beds of peas were up. He didn’t mention the date of the second bed. He then sowed “another bed of ‘forwardest’ peas and a bed of the latest of all.” He noted that April 1, his peas were just appearing. On the 24th, his “forwardest” peas of February 20 came to the table. Again on May 24, his peas of March 17 came to the table and his latest peas of February 20 ”will come to table within about 4 days.”
In the spring, when our tastes seem to automatically change to a lighter, fresher taste; I think of the fresh new green vegetables. We love them all. This dish is one that we enjoy. I only serve it once or twice a year, most often at Easter or within the month.
Braised Spring Peas with Lettuce and Mint
Olive oil and a pat of butter
4 green onions trimmed, sliced
1 pkg of butter lettuce, sliced (iceberg or romaine)
1 16-oz pkg. frozen peas, or 2 cups fresh
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 rounded teaspoon of all purpose flour
1 cup or more or less of reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
A few springs of fresh mint
1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Melt the olive oil and a pat of butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced green onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Slice the lettuce if using a head, but don’t shred. I washed my bagged butter lettuce at this point and drained.
Put a layer of lettuce in with the onions and then sprinkle the peas on top of the lettuce. Add the remaining lettuce, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two and then sprinkle the flour and stir until everything is coated. Slowly pour in the stock, then cover and turn up the heat. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes until the peas are tender.
Taste and add another pinch of salt or pepper if needed. Put in the finely chopped mint leaves. (Mint is optional). If there is too much juice, it can be poured off. Add the lemon juice and serve.