In this simple-yet-refined recipe adapted from the great French chef Jacques Pépin’s cookbook, Essential Pépin, fresh green peas are cooked in a buttery broth, then egg yolks and cream are added just before serving, creating a rich and silky sauce. Add the yolks very gradually over low heat—don’t walk away from the stove!—as they curdle quickly once the liquid comes up to a boil. 

Featured in “Jacques Pépin Is the Teacher and His Ultimate Apprentice is America.”

Braised Green Peas with Egg Yolks
Butter, eggs, and cream make up the luscious sauce in Jacques Pépin’s simple spring dish.
Yield: serves 6
Time: 10 minutes


  • 3 cups small fresh green peas or thawed, frozen baby peas
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, well beaten
  • 3 tbsp. Tbsp. heavy cream


  1. In a medium pot, stir together the peas, butter, parsley, sugar, black pepper, salt, and ½ cup of cool water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low and boil gently until the peas are just tender to the bite, 3–4 minutes if using fresh peas, or about 2 minutes if using frozen.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and cream. Once the peas are tender, gradually stir the yolk-cream mixture into the peas and continue cooking over low heat, stirring continuously, until the liquid thickens to a light and creamy sauce, 30–60 seconds (do not allow the sauce to boil or the yolks will curdle). Remove from the heat and serve warm.