This recipe came to me on the wings of an angel, I'm certain. One day at the market, I was standing in line at my favorite stand, list in hand. When my turn came, I asked for two pounds of carrots, and the farmer looked at me, stricken. "We only have these left—we've run out," he said pointing to a little bunch at the bottom of a crate. "How could I have forgotten to bring more carrots? How stupid. I've got peas this week."
Seeing my confusion, his wife soon helped me out: "We always cook peas and carrots together, with a little butter, some I new onions, and a head of lettuce, just until everything is tender."
She rattled off her recipe and technique, looking at her other regular customers for approval. The recipe sounded so simple that I took the rest of their carrots, and everything else I needed, and went right home and made it.
It was so good I felt I'd never eaten a fresh pea or carrot before. Get the best vegetables you can and try it. It's elegant to eat, and to look at.
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, and shallots, stirring so they are coated with the butter. Season lightly with salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are softened but still have plenty of texture, about 8 minutes.
2. Stir in the water, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, covered, until the carrots are nicely tender, an additional 8 minutes. Add the peas and stir. Then lay the lettuce hearts and leaves over the vegetables. Cover and cook until the lettuce leaves are wilted and the peas are done to your liking (I like them bright green and just cooked through to a juicy tenderness), 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Adjust the seasonings and serve.
French Farmhouse Cookbook
by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Workman; December 1996
Paper: $14.95; ISBN: 1-56305-488-4
Cloth: $24.95; ISBN: 0-7611-0624-3 432
Recipe reprinted by permission.
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