Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pea Soup With Mint

Pea Soup With Mint Recipe

I've been exerting far too much energy toward trying to find a really good spring soup recipe. I love soup but so many of my favorites are best enjoyed, slurp by slurp, or bite by bite, as an antidote for winter blues or a mild cold. Knee deep in spring, who craves a big bowl of spicy chili or hearty bowl of chunky minestrone? Of course gazpacho always comes to mind this time of year and I do look forward to making and sharing my favorite gazpacho recipe sometime soon. But how about something different? 

Surely I had a few hidden gems sitting in my recipe library but I had yet to unearth them. I almost burned myself out on the topic but then I opened up last month's issue of Sunset magazine {OK, my magazines have been piling up and I am really behind} and I came across this recipe. It's almost as if the editors felt sorry for me and decided to throw me a bone. 

I know what you are thinking: pea soup? Yes, pea soup. Not the boring pea soup recipes that have been published ad nauseam this past month. But a subtle, perfectly flavored  pea soup with what I can only describe as a garlic-less deconstructed mint pesto. I cringe to use the word deconstructed but I am at a loss for another word. Said another way and to make a short story long, a very fine pea soup gets a healthy drizzle of  a seasoned puree of fresh mint and olive oil topped with sliced almonds. This finishing touch -  the refreshing {mint}, the slightly rich {olive oil} and the nutty {almonds} - is the perfect accompaniment to sweet peas and it is what takes standard pea soup to a whole new level.

I'm going to tell you that this recipe was also a super quick one, but I have to confess: I cheated. For as much as I love fresh peas I do not have the patience to shell them myself. So I bought my way to sanity {by shelling out some extra cash to purchase shelled fresh peas}. 

Pea Soup With Mint 

2 T butter
1 c chopped sweet onion
1 t + 1/4 t kosher salt, divided
1 quart vegetable broth {original recipe calls for chicken broth}
4 c shelled fresh peas
1/2 c packed mint leaves plus extra for garnish
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 c toasted sliced almonds

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 t of salt. Cook, stirring often until onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and raise the heat to high to bring to a boil. Add peas and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree 1/2 c mint leaves, olive oil and 1/4 t salt in a food processor. Set aside.

Puree soup until smooth using an immersion blender or by running soup in batches through a blender.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Drizzle with mint oil, sprinkle with almonds and top with additional mint leaves.
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Source: Adapted from Sunset

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