Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Pea Soup for Spring and Summer
Ina Garten's pea soup tastes like spring. It's not a heavy, winter-time split pea soup that cooks for hours and warms the house. There's a time for that soup and June in DC is not it. This soup is a puree of fresh peas and mint, which can be served hot, warm or cold with equally good results. Ms. Garten even invites you to substitute frozen peas and as peas have not yet come into the local farm markets, that is how I've made it. I don't think I would even bother to use fresh peas even when they are available, as this soup can be made pretty quickly unless one had to first shell peas. Save those peas for popping in your mouth raw and use the petite, sweet frozen ones here.
I was so excited about this recipe when I first made it as it hit all my benchmarks - it's delicious, relatively healthy and easy to make. Paul and both kids, even my teenaged son who doesn't like peas, enjoyed the soup. I tried to share my excitement with a couple of friends and both told me unequivocally that they hate pea soup. Please don't be judgmental about this soup! Try it - even Teddy liked it!
I've made the recipe, as written (with just one little change - I replaced the butter with olive oil), several times with great success. It's filling enough to serve with some bread and cheese for a light dinner or could also serve as a first course to a full dinner. you could easily sub in garlic rubbed bruschetta for croutons as I've done in this photo or even (gasp!) use packaged ones in a pinch.
Last time I made this soup I divided the soup into three before adding the creme fraiche. In one portion I added creme fraiche and in the other two, lower fat options of fat free Greek yogurt and virtually fat free Israeli quark. In this soup, I much preferred the fullness and mouth feel that the creme fraiche affords. I was hoping to like one of the other options, but they both had too much bite without being rounded out by the cream. I think this recipe needs a little fat to balance the peas. However, I did exchange the butter for olive oil, so I felt virtuous enough to enjoy the creme fraiche laced version.