Last Updated on July 31, 2021
At this time of year, when it’s hot and sunny outside, I really have little inclination to cook anything that takes more than a few minutes in the kitchen. And, having created a vegetable garden jungle in my small back garden, I want to showcase my own produce. This year, the weather has been dismal until recently. Wet and cold, I’ve wondered what will happen to my carefully planted peas, beans, tomatoes and courgettes. The peppers have migrated back indoors a few times along with pots of basil that usually sit in a sunny corner. This week summer seems to have started and I’m thrilled to have found that vegetables I held out little hope for are (literally) blooming. I’ve got enough peas for the occasional supper – and this dish was born out of a desire to make the most of those very fresh peas straight from the garden which taste nothing like the ones that you’ll find in the supermarket, let alone like frozen peas. Fresh peas with Parma ham – simple ingredients that make a dish that works as a light supper with some crusty bread but is equally good served as a side dish
For this dish, you’ll need a handful of fresh peas – around 100g per person. A slice of Parma ham or if you prefer, small cubes. I used a banana shallot, but you could use any mild onion. A handful of fresh herbs (thyme and parsley for me), about 50ml of dry vermouth, some olive oil and a little butter.
Like all dishes with very few ingredients, the quality of what you use is absolutely vital. It would be fine to make this with frozen peas, but perhaps not as a stand-alone supper dish. And, I’d personally opt for the ones you see marked ‘petit pois’ if you are making the dish with frozen peas – they are smaller and closer to the peas I pick from the garden.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges, if you are making a dish of Fresh Peas and Ham, is NOT eating the ingredients before the dish is cooked. I’m sure many people will empathise when I say that one of the reasons my own fresh pea harvest is so meagre is thanks to an ‘eat one – save one’ approach when I’m picking them. But, I did salvage enough for a light supper last night – and really enjoyed this simple recipe that takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish
There will be more too!
In the meanwhile, if you are in the middle of your own fresh pea harvest, why not try my recipe.
Fresh Peas and Ham
- 100 g fresh peas or frozen petit pois
- 1 slice Parma ham or 15g pancetta cubes
- 1 banana shallot
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 5 g butter
- 20 ml dry vermouth
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- Peel and slice the banana shallot as finely as possible. Pick the thyme leaves and finely chop the parsley
- Heat the oil in a heavy based pan
- Add the shallot and cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes till very soft
- Add the herbs and ham and cook for a further minute
- Add the vermouth and peas. Season well with salt and pepper
- Cook until the peas are tender (about 5 minutes) adding a little extra water if necessary
- Once the liquid has nearly reduced down completely, stir through the butter and cook for a minute
- Check seasoning and serve with crusty bread