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French peas and lettuce

Petits Pois Et Laitue A La Tourangelle

Lots of butter, fresh cream and egg yolk - just the way things used to be done in the old days in the Loire Valley in France. This recipe must be tried, if only once in a lifetime.


  • ½ lb unsalted butter, diced
  • bay leaves
  • 1 curly lettuce or Boston, washed
  • 2 oz ham
  • 4 cups small shelled peas
  • salt and white pepper
  • ½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp classic fine herbs
  • 1 pinch sugar


  1. 1

    Put half the butter and the bay leaves in a heavy pan.

  2. 2

    Tear lettuce leaves and put them in the pan. Spread diced ham, peas and remaining butter evenly. Salt and pepper to taste (remember the ham is already salty).

  3. 3

    Cover and cook on low heat. (Heating slowly allows the lettuce to yield enough water in which the peas will simmer. Check regularly and shake the pan gently if necessary - resist the temptation to stir.)

  4. 4

    Meanwhile, beat all remaining ingredients together in a bowl. When peas are cooked (15-20 minutes), pour cream mixture all over. Shake gently so that cooking juices mix well with the thick cream. Remove from heat as soon as it begins to boil. Serve.