Our farmers market may not yet be in full, color-exploding swing, but we’re starting to cook a few favorites that we’ve been missing this winter—and every week there seems to be some new pop of produce present. So, our favorite Sunday morning walk-and-talk is back: the slow and delicious tour around the farmers market, coffee in hand, bags on arms, which often makes us so hungry that we can’t help grab some bread or pastry or crêpe or other to snack on as we tool around.
Last Sunday, our big score: an Italian variety of green garlic. Green garlic is young garlic that’s dug up before the bulb grows into cloves and it’s, no shock here, incredibly tasty. It looks a lot like scallions, but smells like garlic—though it’s not nearly as pungent the fully matured plant.
So, we gathered up a few bunches, along with some beautifully purple shallots, and went home to make a perfectly simple, bright pea soup—a classic in early spring.
We’ve been wanting to put our own spin on an amazing, VERY green pea soup we had in England a few years ago. It’s possible that the long and not-entirely-on-course bike ride we had through the fields near Anglesey Abbey had something to do with just how delicious it tasted, but all the same, it sticks out in our brains as one of our favorite soups of all time. (Yes, we do have a Favorite Soups of All Time list running in our brains.)
And we have to say… We think we may have even topped it here. It’s deliciously uncomplicated, which is great not only for getting quickly to the part where you actually eat this soup, but also for tasting every single ingredient fully. Peas. Green Garlic. Shallots. Mint. Crème fraîche. Lemon. Stock. Done. So good.
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Green Garlic Pea Soup with Mint + Crème Fraîche
Notes: If you can’t find green garlic you can certainly use green onions with a clove of garlic added to the mix.
A word on peas: be sure to cook them until they are tender and no longer starchy, but not mushy. Cooking time will vary depending on whether your peas are fresh or frozen. The older the peas, the starchier they become. So give them a taste as the cook—starting only a couple of minutes in.
- 4-quart soup pot
- A blender
- 1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 cup shallots, sliced
- 1/2 cup green garlic, bulb and light green parts, chopped
- 6 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
- 4 cups peas, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped + more for garnish
- 1 small lemon, juiced—about 2 tbs
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche + more for garnish
- Salt + black pepper to taste
* Over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
* Add the shallots, green garlic, and good pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and opaque
* Add the stock, raise the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer.
* Add peas and cook until the peas are tender.
* Remove from heat and add the mint.
* Carefully, puree the soup in batches until smooth.
* Add the pureed soup to a clean saucepan.
* Heat until good and hot. Stir in the lemon and taste for seasoning.
* Just before serving, add the crème fraîche. Stir to blend.
* Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and sprinkle of mint.
© 2015 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.