Precious peas for a king's meal

It is the king vegetable of spring. Heroes of a children’s book and disruptor of the sleep of a “real princess” according to the famous tale of Andersen, muse for poets and lyricists like Julien Clerc’s “Small peas lardons”, the pea is a vegetable to leaves since its arrival with great fanfare on our plates.

He arrived from Italy in 1660, in the luggage of the chef of the Countess of Soissons, who had gone to study the art of liqueurs. When these “vegetable pearls” were offered to Louis XIV, his enthusiasm was so overwhelming that His Majesty immediately distributed these jewels for the preparation of a meal for his mother, another for the queen, Cardinal Mazarin, the Duke of Orleans. his brother and for himself. Madame de Maintenon reports in her diary that this tasting of peas was all the talk for three days.

The distant cousin of split peas

The pea, so named to be distinguished from its distant cousins ​​the split peas and snow peas, had its heyday in Clamart, in the Paris region, when the winegrowers of the Ile-de-France region, wiped out by the ravages of phylloxera at the beginning of the 20th centurye century, replaced the vines by vegetable crops and in particular that of peas.

Originally from Central Asia, the pea was mainly consumed in salads or mashed all over the Mediterranean. As soon as it arrives in the Sun King’s vegetable garden, the peas are part of the most elegant dishes. There are two classic ways of cooking it: English style, peas cook in salted boiling water, then are drained and immersed in ice water to retain their vibrant color after cooking. They are then reheated in a juice or a sauce accompanying a pigeon, sweetbreads or leg of lamb.

As a bourgeois, a good woman or a peasant?

In the French way, the peas are steamed (cooked over low heat without adding liquid) with butter, new onions and sometimes a heart of lettuce, in a casserole dish. And the final touch is to sprinkle with chopped chervil, chives or tarragon. This base is a monument of French gastronomy called “petits pois à la bourgeoise” which takes the name of “bonne femme” when bacon rubs alongside peas. And if carrots invite themselves in the casserole, the peas say “à la paysanne”. Whatever cooking you choose, avoid overcooking this vegetable which reveals all its flavors when it remains a little firm.

→ RECIPE. Peppermint gazpacho

As an anti-waste priestess, I can’t help but advise you not to throw away the pea pods, to mix them into a velvety soup to enjoy them in a fresh soup, for example.

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Steamed and velvety bites of pea pods

For 4 people

For the velvety
20 pods of peas
2 potatoes
1 liter of vegetable broth
1 C. sesame seeds

For the steamed bites
200 g leftover roast chicken
1 egg
1 shallot
Fresh peas contained in the pods above
12 squares of Chinese dumpling dough (Asian grocery stores)
Fine salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the peeled and cubed potatoes, the pea pods. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat.

Meanwhile, chop the leftover roast chicken, stir in the chopped shallot, egg and peas, precooked for 2 minutes in boiling salted water. Mix well.

Place a little stuffing in the center of each square of ravioli dough. Moisten the rim with a little water, using a brush. Crumple everything up and place the ravioli in a steamer basket. Cook them for 15 minutes.

Mix the pea pods with the potatoes and the broth. Pass the pea soup in a Chinese style so as not to have any threads in the soup.

Divide the lukewarm pea pod soup between four soup plates, place three ravioli, sprinkle with a few sesame seeds and enjoy immediately.

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