I’m going to place one very important caveat on this soup before I give you the hard sell. You must – you absolutely must – love love love the taste of peas in order to enjoy this soup. There can be no attitude of “peas are fine” or “I don’t mind peas”. No, you must love peas, otherwise this soup will be wasted on you. I don’t say this to scare you, but I just know how the attractiveness of this dish could potentially sway a non-pea-lover into thinking they could love peas, and the truth is this soup tastes like peas big time. Yes, it also tastes like lovely herbs and tangy crème fraiche, but amidst those flavours you know what lingers? PEAS.
If you are still reading past this point, you have either committed to your love of peas or you are directly related to me (hi Mum!) and therefore feel a sense of duty to read each post regardless of interest in the recipe. Now that we’re among pea-loving friends though, I can share all the beautiful secrets of this dish with you. This soup is the epitome of spring and of all things fresh and vibrant. I made it with very good-quality frozen peas (because winter), but good lord, if you have the chance to do it with freshly shelled Spring peas DO IT. If you know some genius human who shells and freezes Spring peas, maybe get in their good books now. Honestly, making this soup will probably be the peak of your career in food styling. It is stunning, not only from the bright green of the soup, but from all the little finishing touches that just make it look so goddamn precious and perfect.
BA’s Best: Minty Pea Soup
Taken from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 L good-quality vegetable stock, divided
6 cups fresh, shelled peas (~6 lb pea pods if buying whole) or same quantity good-quality frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves + extra for garnishing
¼ cup fresh mint leaves + extra for garnishing
¼ cup crème fraiche
2 tbsp heavy (whipping) cream
Chopped fresh chives, for garnishing
Good-quality olive oil, for garnishing
Melt the butter in a large heavy pot set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and golden-brown (I like to let the butter brown too – not to the point of burning, just right to the edge where it’s nutty and fragrant). Add 2 cups vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then stir in the peas, cooking at a simmer until just tender (~5 minutes for fresh, ~2 minutes for previously frozen). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the parsley and mint along with the remaining vegetable stock. Puree the soup until completely smooth, then thin as needed with extra stock or water. I think it’s nice to also strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, but that step may be just too big an ask for some people. Taste the soup and season thoroughly with salt and pepper. Decide if you’d like to serve it warm or chilled (if choosing the latter option, go ahead and refrigerate the soup until very cold).
Whisk together the crème fraiche and whipping cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and use a small spoon to artfully drizzle crème fraiche over the surface. Garnish with parsley and mint leaves, then sprinkle over the chives and a delicate drizzle of olive oil. You are now an artist – but certainly not a starving one (for long, anyway).