The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

Something green for the devil.

4 Servings. Easily Doubled.

A traditional dish of cooked peas and lettuce from Randall’s Ordinary. The pairing of these vegetables is characteristically English; probably early eighteenth century. It is both bright and hearty and a good fresh foil for a devil. For four; easily doubled.


Randall's Ordinary Original Recipes-2 cups peas
-1 small head of luttuce, shredded
-2 teaspoons parsley
-1 bunch scallions, chopped
-heaped ½ teaspoon sugar
-1 teaspoon chopped mint
-¼ cup heavy cream
-1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
-salt
-white pepper


It would be difficult to improve upon the original instructions from Original Recipes lovingly shared from the kitchen of Randall’s Ordinary Landmark Inn & Restaurant Established in 1685, a title longer than most of its recipes, which are admirably terse:

“Boil all but butter and cream in a small amount of water for a few minutes. Drain and add butter, cream and seasonings.”

Notes:
- It needs a little improvement, or clarification, after all: Do as the instructions dictate second rather than first to hold off adding the salt and pepper until the end.

- We like to use the seriously unfashionable iceberg lettuce in this recipe; it holds up to the cooking without turning bitter or limp. Boston is a creditable alternative.

- The original recipe uses proportionally less lettuce, a little less sugar and more half and half, which it uses rather than our cream. We like the less liquid coating, almost a glaze, better.

- Frozen baby peas are brilliant here; barely thaw them first.

- Be sure to add the merest drip of water (or, perhaps, chicken stock, especially if serving chicken; other stocks, however, prove a bit assertive); lettuce weeps.

- The mint is authentic and, tradition dictates, essential, but some people do not like it and the dish suffers not at all without it.