Thursday, April 1, 2010

English pea soup with minted crème fraîche, peekytoe crab and julienned bacon

Photo by Rinne Allen

Photo by Rinne Allen

Photo by Rinne Allen

Photo by Rinne Allen

Nature's fast food. Peas so fresh that you can eat them out of the pod. That's what I am looking for.

This soup keeps the vivid bright green beauty of fresh peas. To me local english peas are such a delight that you need to show them off in a dish like this. A veritable crowd pleaser.

English pea soup

Serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 leek, cleaned and diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 small russet potato, peeled and diced

bouquet of thyme, parsley and bay

3 ½ cups light chicken stock or water

1 pound English peas

¼ cup heavy cream

salt, to taste

6 tablespoons crème fraîche

2 teaspoons chopped mint

6 ounces peekytoe crab meat

6 ounces julienned bacon, crisped off in a pan

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the butter foams and pops a bit add the onion, leek and celery. Sweat down the vegetables for about fifteen minutes to develop flavor but not too much color. You are pulling out all those beautiful sugars in the alliums (onions), but not trying to go for caramelization.

2. Add the potato and the water or stock. Add the bouquet and a pinch of salt for good measure. Cover pot and bring to a boil. When the soup boils then simmer it back down and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender.

3. Add the peas and continue to cook for another ten minutes or so. When they are tender, remove from heat and add the cream.

4. Carefully puree soup in a blender in batches and then pass the soup through the finest chinois or strainer you have. If you just have a colander go buy a chinois… they come in handy.

5. In small bowl, mix together the crème fraîche and mint.

6. To serve, divide the soup between six warmed soup bowls, float a dollop of crème fraîche in the middle of each one and divide the crab and bacon amongst them.

Thanks to Rinne Allen for always taking beautiful pictures. Click here to go to her website.
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