Peas and Lima Beans with Butter Lettuce and Fresh Dill
This is adapted from a recipe I posted a couple of year ago in the spring when fresh peas were out. Fresh peas are not out yet here in the 49 parallel but I think this recipe is perfectly good with frozen peas and this time I added lima beans to the mix (also frozen). It is so simple and delicious that I wanted to remind you of the dish. Peas by themselves are wonderful when they are just picked and shelled and if you have fresh peas and lima beans by all means use them. I have only made this recipe with butter lettuce because this is how it is cooked in French cuisine but I wonder if other type of green would work with. I am tempted to try it with fine ribbons of radicchio as well, a change of flavour (radicchio has a bitter palate) but it may be good too (no dill though). This dish takes minutes from start to finish so make it just before you intend to eat or serve it.
Spring is slow to present itself but spring activities are shaping up here. Restaurants at the wineries are scheduled to open the season in May and beginning this week long table dinners are offered here and there. At the moment they are set up indoors and as the weather improves they will be set out in the vineyards between rows of vines. This week there is a long table dinner at Miradoro restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery and I am going along with my foodie friends Val and Laura. It’s always fun to go to special dinners with foodies. You feel free to talk about the food, where ingredients were grown, how the dish was prepared and how it is presented, without risking losing your dinner partner to a let’s change the subject glazed eyes look.
This time the chef offered to make a vegetarian dish for me (I seldom ask but he offered and I accepted). It’s been a while though so I don’t know if they remember. If all goes well I will report about the dinner in an upcoming post. Tinhorn Creek Winery offers some fun events during the summer, one being dinner and a movie projected on large screen outdoors. I have been to one of those before (the movie was Grease) and it was a lot of fun. I am also looking forward to the incomparable Joy Road Catering dinners in the vineyard this season and signed up for quite a few (see post about the Joy road Catering dinner at God’s Mountain here). These are memorable events where the food is wonderful, the presentation gorgeous and you tend to meet people from all over the world as everyone is seated along one long table.
Well, more to come but now, on to the recipe. I made this with olive oil but you can use butter.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced into rings
12 oz frozen organic peas
12 oz frozen organic lima beans
1/2 cup or so chicken stock or water
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
Add the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes to soften them.
Add the peas and lima beans and cook 3 minutes or so on medium heat to coat them with the oil and begin the cooking.
Add the stock just to add some moisture to the dish so it doesn’t dry. Add as much as necessary keeping in mind you just want to peas to steam in the sauce, not to swim in it.
Chop the butter lettuce into ribbons and add them to the skillet with the other ingredients.
Using kitchen tongs toss the leaves among the peas and beans until they are wilted and combined with the dish.
Add the chopped fresh dill, salt and pepper to taste.
That’s it. Ready to serve.