Fresh Peas Three Ways
Lydie Marshall, author of Chez Nous (HarperCollins, 1995): Place fresh peas in a stainless steel pan with a tight-fitting lid with a lump of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a lettuce leaf; add just enough water to moisten the peas, and cook them over medium heat for 10 minutes, making sure the water doesn't evaporate.
Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame: Steam very young peas in a little salted water; when the water evaporates, add a big pat of butter. If you like, just before serving, toss in a little chopped fresh basil.
Anne Willan, founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Burgundy, France: Select bright green pods with peas of equal size. Shell them and cook with a sprig of mint in lots of boiling salted water until they're done but still firm. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and to set the color and taste, and toss with butter, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.