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Spicy Chilled Pea Soup With Mint Whip

Chilled Jalapeno Pea Soup with Mint Whip
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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)

  • Ice
  • 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.

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