every spring for the past few years, i’ve been really excited when the fresh peas show up at the market. i always stuff a ton into a bag, knowing the yield will be small once i shell them, then bring them home and try to think of something spectacular enough to be worthy of them (and the *seeming* hours of shelling…). when i finally come up with something “special enough” for the peas and take the first bite, i invariably wonder “are these actually better than frozen peas? or just 24x more work?”
this spring/summer (how did summer happen already?!), since we’ve moved away from the market i used to frequent, i haven’t seen fresh peas yet. i was feeling a little bummed about this since i had been hoping to include a fresh pea soup recipe here.
fast forward to this past weekend when i was flipping through my aunt’s copy of jim lahey’s my pizza cookbook. not only does he include a recipe for fresh pea soup that sounds tasty, he uses frozen peas. FROZEN. as in, already shelled. as in, already in my freezer (because sometimes you just need to throw some defrosted peas in a box of annie’s mac and cheese and call dinner good enough, you know?).
clearly this was a sign from the universe that i was meant to make this soup, especially since i had all of the ingredients on hand and didn’t need to head to the grocery store before getting to work in the kitchen.
ironically, coming from the master of simple, no-knead bread, i found this recipe just the teensiest bit fussy. sooo, i simplified it.
for example, lahey instructs us to both defrost the peas and then separately chill the soup base. i’m pretty sure what he meant to say was, “hey, i know you’re busy so why don’t you add a smidge less water to account for the ice clinging to the peas, dump the frozen peas into the hot water, give it a good stir, then blend and eat.” probably it was just a typo in the book. don’t worry, though; i’ve listed the corrected version below.
and just like that, just when i had given up on fresh pea soup for this year, i was enjoying a bowl of it for lunch. (as for the pizza dough in the cookbook, so far i’ve only tried to make it once: both the accidental pizza calzone and the pizza roadkill that resulted were super tasty, if not stress-free or much to look at. guess i’ll just have to keep making pizza, er, testing.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 80 g. (generous ½ cup / 2 7/8 oz.) diced onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (24 oz. / 710 ml) water
- 20 whole fresh mint leaves (5 g.), divided
- 450 g. (16 oz.) frozen peas
- pecorino romano or parmigiano-reggiano cheese, thinly shaved, for serving
- heat the oil in a medium soup pot over low heat. once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and salt. cook for about two minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender but not yet beginning to brown.
- add the water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. add a little more than half of the mint leaves and leave to boil for one minute.
- remove from heat, stir in the peas, then either use an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender and puree until smooth.
- at this point, the soup was cool but not cold, which was how i liked it best. if you prefer it to be actively cold, chill in the refrigerator as desired.
- either way, when you’re ready to serve it, thinly slice the remaining mint and garnish each bowl of soup with the mint and cheese.
adapted from “pea soup” in jim lahey’s my pizza.