Any Top Chef fans out there? In an early season, the contestants were challenged to make a Last Supper meal for other well-known celebrity chefs. Carla Hall was assigned Jacques Pépin, who included peas in his meal. When he tasted her creation, he responded with, “I could die happy with this dish.”
These peas have gone on to be in high demand, dubbed Last Supper peas. So naturally, I had to taste them, especially since she used tarragon, one of my absolute favorite herbs.
Yes, this is just a simple side dish; another way to prepare a basic vegetable. But guess what? Pepin was right; these are delicious and worth adding to your kitchen repertoire!
Carla wisely chose to prepare the peas in a French-style, combining butter and water to gloss them. The butter makes the sauce creamy, but the water keeps it from becoming overly rich and allowing the natural flavor of the peas to shine through. She includes a couple tips in her recipe:
Don’t be tempted to substitute lemon juice for the lemon zest, as it discolors the peas.
If you use frozen peas, take the time to thaw them first. Putting frozen peas into a hot pan makes them clump and cook unevenly.
I have my own tip to add: Add these peas to your favorite steamed rice/pilaf! I made this recipe alongside a simple rice pilaf. Both dishes were great separately, but they were fantastic when folded together!
Buttered Tarragon Peas
(Original recipe: Carla Hall ___)
2 TBSP butter, divided
¼ C minced shallots
Kosher salt to taste
2 C cooked fresh (or thawed frozen) peas
2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
¼ C water
In a large skillet, melt 1 TBSP butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and ¼ tsp salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are just translucent, about 1 minute. Add the peas. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until heated through.
Add the tarragon, thyme, lemon zest, water, and remaining TBSP of butter. Cook, stirring, until the peas are glazed, about 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with more tarragon and serve immediately.