Amelia Saltsman’s Sautéed Leeks with English Peas and Mint

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Sautéed Leeks with English Peas and Mint
Makes 2 to 4 hearty servings

1 bunch leeks or 1/2 lb skinny French leeks
1 to 2 Tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
1 lb English peas in the shell
Several sprigs mint
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper

Trim tough green leaves from leeks and compost or reserve for making stock. Cut leeks in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt hidden among the layers. Cut leeks crosswise into thin slices. Heat butter in pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and a sprinkling of salt and a couple grinds of white pepper. Cook uncovered for a few minutes to get the ball rolling, then cover pot and reduce heat so that the leeks will cook gently without browning. Cook, stirring occasionally until very tender, about 15 minutes.

While leeks are cooking, shell peas and tear mint leaves into small pieces. Just before serving, stir peas and mint into the leeks, cover pot, and cook a minute or two until peas are just tender. If the peas are a bit large or starchy, they may take 5 to 10 minutes to cook. Any more than that, and you have very mature peas that would be better in a longer-cooked soup.

Season dish with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 to 4 hearty servings.

© 2010 Amelia Saltsman.