My Recipe Box

Peas with Lemon, Mint, and Scallions


Serves 3

  • by from Fast, Fresh & Green

Fresh peas should not really be available year-round at the grocery store, as they don’t store well. We should all enjoy them in late spring and early summer when we see them at the farmers’ market, or we should grow our own, because they’re sweet, tender, and delicious. If you do see fresh peas at the grocery store, they will definitely be fresher if they are still in the shell. The rest of the year, you shouldn’t think twice about using frozen peas.

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. shelled fresh peas (about 2 cups) or frozen peas (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 large scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp. packed finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper

If using fresh peas: Fill a large saucepan half full with water and 2 tsp kosher salt and bring to a boil. Drop the peas into the boiling water and cook until just tender (taste one or two), 2 minutes for smaller peas, 3 minutes for larger, older peas. Begin timing immediately; don’t wait for the water to return to a boil. Use a mesh strainer to transfer the peas to a dish towel or a few layers of paper towels to drain. Discard the water the peas were boiled in, but reserve the pot.

If using frozen peas: Put them in a colander and run cold water over them for a few minutes until they’re mostly thawed. Spread them out on a few layers of dish towels to drain

Melt the butter in the reserved saucepan over low heat. Add the scallions and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream, half of the mint, the lemon zest, 1/4 tsp of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens slightly and a wooden spoon leaves a wide path when scraped across the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Add the peas and stir until they’re heated through and well coated with the sauce, 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat, taste for salt and pepper, and serve immediately, garnished with the remaining mint.

Make Ahead Tips

If you’re entertaining, you can boil the fresh peas or thaw the frozen peas ahead of time. It will take less than 10 minutes to finish them on the stove top when dinnertime comes.


Fresh Peas with Lime and Coconut Milk: To give peas a slightly tropical twist, replace half of the heavy cream with coconut milk (canned, well stirred), replace the lemon zest with lime zest, and replace the mint with cilantro.  When adding the cream-coconut mixture to the sautéed scallions, simply bring it to a boil and immediately add the peas.  You won’t need to let the cream reduce. This variation is good with lamb, preferably grilled kebabs.

Serving Suggestions

These peas are the perfect Easter side dish; serve with roast leg of lamb and buttered new potatoes. Or for weeknights, serve with seared lamb rib chops and a simple rice pilaf.

Photo: Ben Fink

This was a solid recipe. It doesn't knock your socks off but it's good. Will Definately make again.

Outstanding. Most delicious peas ever! I used fat free 1/2 -n- 1/2 and it still thickened up fine and tasted perfect. Eating this without all the fat calories was like finding a great sale!

Made this for Easter with ham and rice pilaf . The wonderful flavors of lemon and mint combined well with the richness of the cream. Will definitely make again.

Excellent side dish! Clean and bright. Will try with half and half next time, but cream is always yummy. Made with seared-salmon with ginger butter and the coconut rice. Great combination.

Quite possibly the most heavenly peas I have ever eaten. Delicate flavors, buttery and creamy. Almost speechless.

Wonderful side dish. I subbed cilantro for mint and used petite peas. You could even go a little less on the heavy cream and it would be just as good.

This has turned out wonderful. I did not use mint, and added sauteed cremini mushrooms for extra flavor.

I have made this recipe twice with very good results. A refreshingly decadent way to prepare peas.

This is an excellent recipe combining the freshness of peas and mint with the added high tone of the lemon zest and then adding the richness of the cream. Rich with a sparkle! I served this at a meal I prepared for a group of men and it was a hit. One said that even his non-pea-eating children would probably eat it. High praise if there ever was one.

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