Recipe: Petits pois a la française

Ingredients

1kg peas

100g lettuce

100g spring onions

200g lardons or diced bacon

Butter

Sugar

Salt

Method

In the same way that a l’anglaise means cooking whatever in boiling, salted water, cooking something a la française means adding bacon bits, specifically lardons.

Now, French people believe, incorrectly, that lardons straight out of the packet are already cooked and that there’s no need for any further cooking. This is, of course, completely wrong. Bacon bits need to be fried off; not, it has to be said, as much as most English people think – that’d be silly and a waste of taste and flavour. But a bit at least.

First, cook your peas for whatever is the recommended time on the packet in boiling, salted water (bring the water to the boil first then add the peas). Or if they’re fresh give them 12-15 minutes.

While the peas are cooking in a shallow saucepan, fry off your bacon bits. At the same time cook the spring onions very lightly – about five minutes in just enough water to cover them, with a little salt and sugar.

Shred the lettuce. Do this by rolling the leaves in bunches of 3 or 4 and slicing them into Swiss roll slices, only thinner. Say, half a centimeter.

Time it carefully and as you strain the peas the bacon and onions will be cooked. Don’t completely strain the peas – add them and a little of their cooking water to the pan where the bacon’s cooking.

Add the lettuce, onions and the butter and sugar to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the bacon-y goodness into the mix. Shake the pan a little and simmer for a few seconds until all the cooking water has evaporated and the peas, bacon and lettuce are nicely coated with yumminess.

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