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Chilled English Pea Soup with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

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.

slideshow Cold Soup Recipes

  • Servings: 4

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  • 3 quarts water
  • Salt
  • 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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Make Ahead

The soup can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 1 day. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Try a Blanc de Blancs. This elegant wine harmonizes beautifully with the delicate taste of English peas.

Contributed By Photo © James Merrell Published September 1999

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