Light and springy

April 13, 2010

The single best meal of my life was a dinner my dad won in a silent auction. He bid on the "chef's table" at a restaurant called Jackson's, and the chef in question happened to be our next door neighbor when I was a kid. (In the interest of full disclosure, he was my boyfriend for two days in the fourth grade and then later in high school we used to hang around the same troublemakers. Yes, b&b, I'm referring to you.) But back to the dinner. First there was ceviche as an amuse bouche. Then fresh pea soup with a little island of crab, then tuna carpaccio, beef tartar, tenderloin slow boiled in olive oil, and a banana upside down thing for dessert (it was starting to be a haze at that point). It was chock full of fresh, seasonal delicacies. No one could move at the end of the night, but if you are going to be a glutton, do it right. With all those amazing foods, though, my favorite was the pea soup. It was fresh, light, sweet and herbaceous. Thank you, Rick, for the amazing pea soup memories. 

While flipping through some magazines and deciding what to make for Easter dinner, I came upon a pea soup recipe. This one is pretty good (nowhere near Rick's, but I am a mere mortal) and really easy - which is what I like in first courses! I wouldn't recommend it as a dinner entree, it's better as a starter or a side. And if you can garnish it with a little crostini - all the better.

Spring pea soup (not as good as Rick's), loosely adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2010
Serves 4

1 tablepoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
about 2 cups frozen peas (from a new bag, not one that has been sitting in your freezer, opened, for 2 years)
2 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie broth
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup fresh mint, plus a little for garnish if you're feeling fancy.
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft and tender, turning the heat down if they start to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the peas, then the broth and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the peas are nice and tender. Let it cool a little, then pour into a blender, add the dairy and mint, and puree until very smooth. (This took about 2 minutes of blender time, for me.) Taste it, and add salt and pepper as necessary. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving cold. Garnish with mint, if you want.


Emily Pearl Goodstein said...

i remember when you went to this dinner. and we had to have a special meeting to discuss it! so fun.

Benjamin said...

You were the real troublemaker, Bethy! I wish Rick would make this soup for me.