As a contestant on Top Chef, I had the privilege of making culinary legend Jacques Pépin’s ideal last supper. He swooned over these peas! His happy reaction actually brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it was because I would want these peas at my last supper, too. And apparently I’m not the only one. I didn’t include this recipe in my first cookbook and I can’t tell you how many requests I’ve gotten for it. So here you go, folks: the peas that’ll let you leave this world happy. — Carla Hall
Carla’s Comfort Foods, Favorite Dishes from Around the World
by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko
Photography by Frances Janisch
Design and Production by Jennifer Barry
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup water
- In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are just translucent, about 1 minute. Add the peas, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, until heated through.
- Add the tarragon, thyme, lemon zest, water, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, stirring, until the peas are glazed, about 5 minutes. Garnish with tarragon leaves and serve immediately.
One of my favorite French techniques is combining butter and water to gloss fresh vegetables. Butter makes the sauce creamy and the water keeps it from becoming too rich.
To get my beloved lemon in here, I add zest to the glaze. Fresh juice would discolor the peas and the zest adds a nice floral note.
When I first made this recipe, I thought, “Why waste my time thawing frozen peas?” Well, I learned the hard way. If you throw frozen peas into a hot pan, they clump and cook unevenly.