Chilled English Pea Soup with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- SERVINGS: 4
This soup gets all its flavor from the peas. If you can't find really sweet fresh ones, you're better off with frozen baby peas.
- 3 quarts water
- 4 pounds fresh peas, shelled (4 cups shelled)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup diced crustless day-old country bread (3/8-inch dice)
- Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Salt the water, then add the peas and bring the water back to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the peas, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside 1/4 cup of peas.
- In a food processor, combine the remaining peas with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Work the puree through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Discard the contents of the sieve. Stir in about 4 cups of the cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper; add more cooking liquid if necessary to make a nice, creamy soup. Refrigerate the soup until cold, at least 2 hours.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter in the vegetable oil. Add the diced bread and brown the cubes on all sides over moderately high heat, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the croutons on paper towels.
- Ladle the cold soup into bowls and garnish each with a few of the croutons and reserved peas. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper and serve.
Try a Blanc de Blancs. This elegant wine harmonizes beautifully with the delicate taste of English peas.