Spicy Chilled Pea Soup With Mint Whip
Chilled pea soup is generally a springtime, early summer kind of thing with fresh peas peaking in their sweetness and vibrant green color. It’s an incredibly short season. But as a chef jokingly said to me while discussing seasonality, “…frozen is year-round.” As wonderful as it is to use fresh everything, frozen is sometimes also more than fine. Peas are a perfect example of that since they are packaged immediately upon harvesting, which is key to maintaining their fresh flavor. So yes, today I used frozen peas to make this ultra simple, delicious, healthy and eye-appealing soup. Of course, I put my Latin spin on it, subbing crema fresca for crème fraiche and adding jalapeno for that little kick.
Ingredients & Method (serves 6)
- 5 cups peas
- 1T salt plus more to taste
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil, plus slightly more for garnish
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (deseed if you want less heat)
- About 3 cups of cold vegetable broth or water
- 2 cups plain low or full fat yogurt (fat free is okay if you don’t mind a pithy aftertaste)
- 2 cups crema fresca (heavy cream is okay if you cannot find crema fresca)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, 6 leaves reserved
- Fresh cracked black pepper
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas to water for about 1 minute or less, just so the peas are no longer frozen. Strain peas into a fine mesh sieve and then plunge the sieve into the ice water. Transfer peas to a paper towel lined plate or sheet tray to dry.
Heat olive oil in a medium sized pan on med-high heat. Sauté onion, garlic and jalapeno and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Place mint (6 leaves reserved) and sprinkle of salt in a mixing bowl and gently mash with a whisk so the mint is bruised. Add heavy cream and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a blender, working in small batches, combine peas, onion, garlic and jalapeno, salt, and 1 cup of vegetable broth or water. Blend until just smooth and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Repeat until everything is blended. In a large mixing bowl, using a spatula, gently combine crema fresca or heavy cream and yogurt until very smooth. Add pea mixture and combine with spatula. Chill for at least two hours.
Strain heavy cream through a fine mesh sieve and whip until stiff. To serve, top each bowl of soup with a dollop of savory mint whip, torn mint, fresh cracked black pepper and drizzle of olive oil.