Our friend Paul is a sweet pea. He is the beloved man of one of the very best people that I know (Kerthy). He is a ridiculously good photographer and film DP. Sometimes he takes a photo for this blog and when he does, I get tons of compliments on how my photography is improving. My photography is improving, however, it will be a few decades before I’m as good at it as Paul. Paul makes legendary BBQ ribs and margaritas every summer and other delicious meats and cocktails throughout the year. In addition to knowing how to cook, Paul is the best host I know. When you go to his house you feel loved, cared for, listened to and well fed. You’ve been allowed to concentrate on engaging conversation because Paul and Kerthy have taken such good care of you. It’s impressive.
Paul brought this soup to our Perfect Spring Dinner Party a few weeks back and I’ve made it again since then because my CSA farmshare sent sugar snap peas last week. It is the kind of soup that you will want to make every year to celebrate the return of green things. Below the recipe for Sweet Pea Soup, you’ll find a list of the vegetables I have been receiving in my farmshare with links to recipes, if you are interested!Paul adapted this Sweet Pea Soup recipe from the excellent cookbook, The Italian Country Table, by Lynn Rosetto Kasper. He told us that the first time he made it, he shelled the peas (as instructed) and it took forever. At the time, he was working on the film crew for a cooking show and he asked one of the chefs the next day if there was a way to shell peas more quickly. The chef suggested that he skip shelling the peas altogether, since the shells of sugar snaps are edible (and delicious). It was good advice. You will, however, need a good blender. I left a little bit of texture in my soup, because I liked it that way, but also because my little immersion blender needed a rest. I knew that this soup was going to be a challenge to my tools, so I took the time to snap of the ends and remove the strings from the peas.
PAUL’S SWEET PEA SOUP
(adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynn Rosetto Kasper)
- 1/2 pound spring onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 pounds sugar snap peas (ends snapped off and strings removed unless you have a REALLY good blender)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 thin slices lean pancetta, sliced fine
- a generous pinch of sugar
- 1/2 cup tightly packed Italian parsley
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups homemade chicken stock or broth
- Drop the peas and onions into a bowl of cold water.
- Combine the oil and pancetta in a 3 quart sauce pan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until the pancetta is golden brown. Drain the vegetables and toss them, still damp into the pan with the pancetta.
- Add the sugar and cook, partially covered for 8 minutes. Take care not to overcook the peas. They should be barely tender. Fold in the parsley, salt and pepper and cook just until the parsley wilts.
- Puree the sautéed vegetables with the soup stock until it is totally smooth. Serve warm.
FARMSHARE COOKING WEEK 1
- Hakurei turnips Used to make Chinotto Braised Pork Shoulder with Baby Turnips
- Radishes and mesclun greens- eaten in salads
- Turnip and radish greens- Used in Stracciatella
- Cilantro- Made into Cilantro, Sunflower Seed and Jalapeno Pesto
FARMSHARE COOKING WEEK 2
- Sugar snap peas- Used to make Sweet Pea Soup (recipe above)
- Spring onions- Used in sweet pea soup and in Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Bacon
- Strawberries and spinach- Made into Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Bacon
- Head lettuce and arugula- Used in a salad with blueberries and feta cheese
MORE SAVOURY SPRING DISHES…