I am still waiting for the bounty of spring vegetables to arrive. It’s almost here, but has not fully taken over, and it’s a few more weeks to the opening of the Farmer’s Market. So in the meantime, my need for something green leads me back to my favorite way of preparing that old standby, frozen peas. Fresh mint, crispy, salty pancetta and creamy crème fraiche make this simple preparation as elegant as it is attractive.
Peas with Pancetta, Mint and Crème Fraiche
1 (16 – ounce) bag frozen peas
5 ounces pancetta
4 Tablespoons white wine or vermouth
4 sprigs fresh mint
2 cups chicken broth
7 ounces crème fraiche
ground black pepper
Finely chop the mint leaves and set aside. Dice the pancetta and drop in a sauté pan. Fry the pancetta until crispy. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel to drain. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by half. Add the peas to the pan and pour in the chicken broth. Sprinkle over half of the mint leaves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook uncovered until the liquid is almost completely evaporated and the peas are nicely glazed. (The peas can hold at this point, covered, for half an hour).
Stir in the crème fraiche and stir gently to coat the peas. Warm through over medium-low heat. Stir in the pancetta and remaining mint leaves. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper