- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small fennel bulb—thick stalk discarded, bulb thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1 quart whole milk
- 4 cups fresh or frozen peas (1 pound), thawed
- 1/2 cup diced smoked ham hock (from one 11-ounce ham hock) or smoky ham
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- Pea tendrils or baby arugula, for garnish
In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the fennel, onion and garlic and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the milk and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the peas and simmer until tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Strain it through a fine sieve set over a large bowl. Season with salt.
In a small bowl, combine the ham with the shallot, chives, olive oil and sherry vinegar. Spoon the ham salad into the center of 4 bowls. Ladle the warm soup into the bowls, garnish with the pea tendrils and serve immediately.