Fresh Pea Soup is a delightful summer soup: bright green, and deeply flavored.
We are not paying enough attention to the possibilities of Fresh Pea Soup, or to fresh peas for that matter. Often, fresh peas are demurely located on one side of our plate and generically called a side dish. In my Fresh Pea Soup, the Fresh Peas are front and center, and responsible for the vibrant color and sweet and fresh flavor of this soup. Now, my Fresh Pea Soup vindicates the humble pea. I guarantee it!
Don’t get me wrong: I do love split pea soup: Take a look at my Moroccan Split Pea Soup! But my Fresh Pea Soup uses fresh peas, so you end up with a much less starchy soup. It’s ideal when you are looking, as I always am, for lower carb options. Also, it is totally natural and vegetarian.
I love to use frozen peas, they are always there for you and every bit as delicious and nutritious as fresh peas.
Sometimes fresh loose (shelled) fresh peas are available and affordable, so go for them. Additionally, America neglects escarole, a member of the lettuce family. But, it is a huge Favorite in France. It has a delightfully bitter edge that makes it a big salad star, and lends itself perfectly to quick cooking, paired as it is here with milder ingredients for this wonderful fresh pea soup. Best of all, it is very easy to find in produce markets.
Although what I originally had in mind when I developed my fresh pea soup was a chilled soup, I can see no reason not to serve it hot as well. In this case, add the yogurt in each bowl as a garnish (do not cook it).
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 leeks, sliced
- 4 ribs celery, peeled
- 1 large bunch flat parsley
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 large green zucchini, unpeeled, cut in large chunks
- 2 quarts (8 cups water)
- 4 cups fresh or frozen peas
- 1 large head escarole, roughly chopped
- 1 large bunch mint, leaves only, about 1 cup packed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups plain yogurt or dairy-free yogurt
Heat the oil in a heavy pot. In a food processor, coarsely grind the leeks, celery, parsley, onion and zucchini, and add the mixture to the hot oil. Sauté until translucent. Add all remaining ingredients except the yogurt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium, and cook covered about 10 minutes.
Cream the soup in a blender or food processor, or with an immersion blender. Adjust consistency and seasonings.
Chill completely, and stir in the yogurt.