Carla’s English Peas

Okay, so I’m absolutely obsessed with Carla from this season of Top Chef. If you’ve seen a single episode, you know why. She’s got flavor. She’s incredibly kind and gracious. She says the darndest things. And she cooks with love! Can I get a “hooty-hoo?!?” So, if you caught this evening’s episode, you’ll recall that the entire panel of judges agreed that her English Peas were the best thing they’d ever tasted. How did she do it? Well, curiosity got the best of me and I surfed over to the Bravo website to find out. Though fresh peas really aren’t in season around here right now, I may head to the market tomorrow and see if I can’t find the ingredients to recreate Carla’s magic. In related news, I’ve considered organizing a “Stay Home From Work and Text All Day for Carla to Win the Fan Favorite Award Day.” Let me know if you’re on board.

1 pound English peas, shelled

1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped

4 tablespoons cold butter

2 teaspoons lemon thyme compound butter
kosher salt
black pepper

Okay, so I’m working from the rather sketchy recipe on the Top Chef website. Blanch the peas in salted water until just tender. (You want the peas to take on a bright green hue while remaining partially crisp.) Strain the peas.

Make the lemon thyme compound butter by combining 8 tablespoons of butter, 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest, 1 ½ teaspoons chopped thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt. (I imagine the best technique for making this would be to work with room temperature butter and cream the other ingredients in using a mixer on low speed.)

Toss the peas with the cold butter, tarragon, and lemon thyme butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.

(Yields: 2-3 servings; Ready In: (I’m guessing) about 20 minutes (making the lemon thyme compound butter will probably take the most time)


  1. Gee thank you so much... we were all really interested in getting Carla's recipe for those darn peas. As soon as we get our hands on fresh peas we're going for this.
    On the other hand we wish to let you know that our whole family agrees 100% with your description of Carla... we just love her; she is absolutely wonderful to watch and listen to... we wish we could eat her food!!!!!!!!

  2. When I saw fresh English Peas at Whole Food's in Alexandria, VA yesterday, the next thought of mine was "Oh Carla's peas!"

    Following the above mentioned recipe, I was able to duplicate it. However I substituted the tarragon for fresh mint which was a hit!

    One word of caution, for the sake of even cooking during the blanching, make sure all your shelled fresh peas are as close in size as possible. Otherwise, you'll see the uneven texture of the peas.

  3. Why do they specify "cold" butter?

  4. Fresh peas are in at Wegmans! I just bought a bagful - hoping to find Carla's recipe! I could die a happy, happy girl if Jacques Pepin pronounced my peas "Scromp-tious" Thanks, from Karen in Rochester!


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