Rare Recipe from Bryan Webb, Tyddyn Llan
Prior to moving to Wales, Bryan ran Hilaire in London, a restaurant highly acclaimed by the food guides. Bryan has continued to gather awards and accolades at Tyddyn Llan. His cooking is all about subtle flavours and an uncompromising attitude to sourcing the finest, freshest ingredients.
Good cooks love peas - at least I do. Probably I’m obsessed about their sweetness and their starch content, about the relative merits of fresh and frozen, about the merits of peeled after podding and whether they should be boiled (à l'anglaise) or gently braised (à la franḉaise).
Summer is the time of year when you should go out and buy fresh peas. That is not to say there is anything wrong with frozen ones but when they are at their best during July and August although it's a chore to pod them it's well worth it. These days we are all much more lazy about domestic chores and it is never so obvious to me as when I see in the supermarket plastic-wrapped trays of shelled peas, and I admit to buying them myself in the past.
Like most of you I imagine, I am never without a half used bag of frozen peas in the freezer although they do tend to get knocked over leaving a few rolling around and getting iced up and hiding in the cracks under the ice tray. I am happy about using the frozen pea but there is nothing like the fresh ones, they cook all right and you don’t spend ages waiting for them to turn into greeny grey bullets. However I always feel that the frozen pea is always ridiculously sweet, although they work great in a soup with some wilted bitter salad to take away some of the sweetness.
I never tire of cooking peas although some of my helpers may get tired of podding them before their season ends, so please go and make the most of this simple and beautiful vegetable. Pigeon and peas is a classis combination and are best made with squab pigeon rather than the wild, I fear. If not available a small duck with an extra 20 minutes cooking would be more appropriate.
Pigeon and Peas for two