Leaves of baby bibb lettuce become nests for single servings of barely cooked fresh green peas, making for a festive side dish. This recipe originally appeared with Coleman Andrews's story "Peas Please" (March/April 1996). Simplicity is the rule of thumb when it comes to cooking fresh peas—but different cooks have different ideas about what is simple. Here's our interpretation.
- 2 lb. fresh peas, shelled to yield 2 cups
- 4 heads baby bibb lettuce
- Pat of butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add peas to boiling water, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the outer leaves of baby bibb lettuce and pull out the inner cores so that you have only the tender middle leaves.
Drain peas in a colander and run briefly under cold water to stop the cooking. Toss peas with butter while they are still warm and season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon peas into lettuce "cups." (Peas will slightly cook lettuce.)