peas

Whilst frozen peas may have the edge on nutritive value, convenience, and even texture, the season for fresh peas just cannot go unnoticed. Crisp green pods, popped open to reveal tiny globes with a flavour that just cannot be replicated. As food memories go, shelling peas is right up there with the Heinz tomato soup of après sledging and baked potatoes on Bonfire night. Redolent with the scent of long hot summers, the freshly popped pea takes us all back to childhood. Albeit with rosy goggles.

This simple salad can be served as a light main, or a side dish. Grilled outdoors it makes an excellent addition to your BBQ repertoire, yet it is equally happy on the indoor griddle. The sauce is made from crème fraiche. We used 0% fat, which tends to split yet makes for a lighter sauce. Feel free to use the full fat stuff, and even use a splash of chicken stock to thin it down. Inspired by the French dish that braises peas and lettuce in chicken stock, the extra body of chicken stock would be a welcome addition.

Recipe for summer pea salad

Serves 2

8 new potatoes, cooked, cooled and sliced

2 baby gem lettuce, quartered

4 banana shallots, peeled and halved

200g fresh peas, shelled

For the sauce

2 tbsp. crème fraiche

2 tbsp. water or chicken stock

Flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. snipped chives

  1. Pre-heat the barbecue or a cast iron griddle.
  2. Grill the potato slices, shallots and lettuce; just enough to char and, in the case of the shallots, soften slightly.
  3. Put the peas in cold salted water over a high heat, bring to the boil, cook for 2 minutes, and then strain.
  4. Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and bring to a simmer. If you use low fat crème fraiche it may split, but do not worry about it.
  5. Arrange all the ingredients on plates and drizzle with the sauce.
  6. Eat hot or cold.