Peas, sautéed with bacon (sometimes jamón) is a very popular starter on a Menú del Día in Barcelona. The bacon can be swapped for small prawns (see here) and I’ve even seen it as a main course with an egg cooked on top. Some recipes, further south, call for the addition of pimetón.
At La Catedra, on a typical menú, the peas and bacon come with a little chopped egg mixed in.
Guisantes Salteados con Beicon (serves 2 as a starter):
200g smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
200g onion (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
500g fresh shelled peas (or frozen)
200ml chicken stock
a splash dry white wine
1 bay leaf
a pinch of thyme
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
Shell the peas and put them into a saucepan with cold water and a couple of turns of sea salt. I prefer fresh peas, but there’s no reason why frozen can’t be used as a substitute.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2 -3 minutes, until almost tender.
Strain the peas through a sieve and plunge into cold water with a few ice cubes to refresh them, stop the cooking and keep their bright green colour.
Chop the bacon and fry in a little olive oil. When it has browned, reserve to a plate.
Gently fry (sofreír) the chopped onion in the bacon pan – add more olive oil (as required) to keep the onion moist and stop it sticking. Stir often!
When the onion’s soft and sticky, mix in the garlic and bacon. Save a little bacon to use as a garnish.
Drain the peas and add them to the frying pan. Pour on a splash of dry white wine and the chicken stock. Sprinkle on cracked back pepper (to taste), a large pinch of thyme and don’t forget the bay leaf.
Allow the stock to reduce, but don’t overcook the peas or they will loose their bright green colour.
Serve with a knob of butter as a starter or side dish. I enjoyed my peas with a duck breast, boiled potatoes and a glass of Torres Verdeo, a Verdejo from the Rueda wine region.
We love our peas here MD and our fresh ones should be coming soon so this is a must-try. Take care…
Thanks Ron – I love it on the menú del día, so I had to do a recreation. I’m sure you’ll love it!
Sounds delicious, MD! Very similar to piselli alla romana (Roman Style Peas) which I love, so I’d surely enjoy these, too.
Thanks Frank – I hadn’t seen piselli alla romana before, but they do look very similar. Some recipes call for stock, which would make them almost identical! They do say that early Catalan cuisine was heavily influenced by the Romans.