Tuesday, June 5, 2012

#341 June Pea Soup

I haven’t been on the ball with my blogging recently, I do apologise (though there are reasons for this that you shall soon be privy to). I shall get my arse into gear.

Here’s a recipe that I have meant to make every summer, and every summer I have forgot. I did not expect to be making it here in America as you don’t see fresh peas in their pods very often here; I happened upon them at Soulard Market which is great for fruit and veg.

This soup is “a soup for midsummer when young peas are at their freshest and sweetest”, says Jane. In fact that is all the she says on this one. This soup has very few ingredients and it contains no stock – and no seasonings – and can be served either hot or cold. It’s not very often that you come across vegetable soups being made without stock, though the great French chef and restaurateur Marcel Boulestin knew all about the benefits of making soup in this way:

The chief thing to remember is that all soups – unless otherwise specified – must be made with plain water. When made with the addition of stock they lose all character and cease to be what they were intended to be. The fresh pleasant taste is lost owing to the addition of meat stock, and the value of soup from an economical point of view is also lost.
The French gastronome Brillat-Savarin made similar comments.

Marcel Boulestin

Well we get to put this theory to the test in this, the penultimate recipe in the Soups chapter…

Start by shelling your peas – you’ll need to buy three pounds – and stop shelling when you get to about 1 ¼ pounds. Reserve five or six of the greenest pods. Next, chop six ounces of spring onions and sweat them in three ounces of butter, along with a very finely chopped clove of garlic. Cover the pan, and let them stew for five minutes; mind you don’t let them brown though. Add your peas and the reserved pods along with a little less than three (UK) pints of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the peas are nice and tender. Liquidise and sieve the soup, reheat and stir in 6 fluid ounces of crème fraîche or whipping cream. If you want to eat the soup cold, you are essentially done – all you need to do is chill it and add a flurry of chopped mint leaves into each bowl when you serve them. If you want it hot, stir in three more ounces of butter. Again, serve with some finely chopped mint leaves.

#341 June Pea Soup. Well, well, well, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised my this delicious soup – the sweet peas and the still very slightly acrid onions worked so well and did not require anything else to make them delicious, just the touch of aromatic mint and the silkiness from the cream. I tried it cold; there was none left to try warm! 7/10.

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