This side dish is a great accompaniment to lamb. As a child of New Zealand, I feel it is my patriotic duty to eat as much lamb as possible. Just as well I love it so much. If you’re not quite such a lamb fanatic, this is also wonderful with roast chicken or chicken thighs baked in the oven with a few handfuls of herbs. I really enjoy cooking with pea shoots. Not only do they look pretty, they are also very intensely flavoured. I find them a little greener and less sweet than the peas.

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  • 450g fresh or frozen peas
  • 1tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Spring onions cut into 5mm slices
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 250g tender pea shoots (or small watercress sprigs, or a mix of both)
  • 20g mint leaves (a small bunch) coarsely chopped if large
  • Salt and pepper


  • STEP 1

    Bring a large heavy pan of salted water to the boil. Add the peas and cook until they are just tender – about 3 minutes. (If using frozen peas, they will only need 1 minute.) Drain and rinse under cold water.

  • STEP 2

    Return the pan to the heat and add the oil. Add the spring onions and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the peas, cover and cook for 1 minute, or until heated through. Stir in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, then add the pea shoots and stir until wilted.

  • STEP 3

    Remove from the heat, stir in the mint and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pan-fried or grilled lamb chops or roast chicken.


Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.