Fresh pea soup with mint
This soup may be served hot or cold. Serve as is or with a topping: finely sliced Parma ham, cream or finely sliced shallots and extra mint, the last being a vegan version.
Use fresh peas in season if you have the patience to shell them — otherwise frozen peas are perfectly fine. To obtain the required 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint, you will need about 24 leaves, or three sprigs’ worth. The quantities below will serve 3-4 people.
4 cups fresh or frozen peas (about 1 pound, or 500 g, shelled)
1 medium onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups (3/4 liter) water
2 tsp. sea salt or table salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried tarragon
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint (about 3 sprigs, or 24 leaves)
For the optional toppings:
2 thin slices Parma ham, cut into thin strips, or
3-4 tsp. crème fraîche or heavy cream, or
3-4 tsp. coconut cream
3-4 tsp. finely sliced shallot plus 2 finely sliced mint leaves
Measure out the peas into a bowl. Peel and chop the onion.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring, until wilted but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the peas and water. Turn the heat up to high. Add the salt, sugar and tarragon. Grind in some black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the peas are tender.
Purée the soup using a hand-held or counter-top blender. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth. If it seems too thick, add 1/2 cup more water. Transfer to a clean pot.
Slice the mint leaves horizontally into fine strips. Stir into the soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Reheat gently if serving hot — or, for a cold soup, refrigerate for about an hour before serving.
Ladle into soup bowls. Add a sprig of mint for decoration or one of the toppings. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if you like. Serves 3-4.