Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spring Pea Soup

Ever since I discovered the deliciousness of split pea soup in January, it has been a part of my regular dinner rotation. I'm sure I've made it at least 5 times since then and it continues to make me very happy on workdays when I heat it up for lunch.

The problem is that split pea soup, in all its earthy-hearty goodness, is very much a cold weather soup. Spring pea soup, however, is a great spring and summer alternative and is perfect eaten warm, at room temperature, or even chilled. And it allows me to use English peas, which I have been daydreaming about for weeks.

About two months ago, I was thinking about spring veggies I can cook with to make dishes worthy of posting on this blog. Suddenly I was struck with a memory from at least 20 years ago, and it was as clear as a bell in my mind. Here it is: I remember sitting in the screened-in porch at our lake cabin with my Grandma Edith. One bowl full of fat green pods was on the table, another nearly empty bowl in my lap into which I'm shelling English peas for dinner. I'm sure I ate just as many of those tiny pearls as made it to dinner. This memory makes me very happy and it makes me miss my Grandma, who died when I was 11.

So, ever since that memory first popped into my brain, I've been obsessed with finding English peas this summer. And of course, they've been nearly impossible to find. Farmer's Markets? Nope. Grocery stores? Nope. Finally...today at Whole Foods, success!

I spent a good chunk of time shelling the pods (not quite as fun as I remember!) and I ended up with barely a cup of peas. Oh well, it was enough to make one serving of delicious soup. Warning: spring pea soup tastes NOTHING like split pea soup. Other than a smooth texture and a green color, the flavors are completely different...as different as winter and summer.

Spring Pea Soup
1 small yellow onion, diced
Freshly shelled English peas (or frozen green peas)
Vegetable stock

Saute the onion in olive oil, add the peas and cook for 3 more minutes.
Add some stock and bring to a boil. Cool and puree.

The best part of this soup was the addition of some creme fraiche that was leftover from making Bouchon au Thon. The tart creaminess of the creme fraiche added a complexity to the flavors that made the soup very savory.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

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