This silky, vividly colored sweet pea puree is ideal for entertaining because it is delicious both warm and at room temperature; the soups and crisps can be made entirely ahead, and the tart Majorero cream can be melted just before serving.
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3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 thyme sprig
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
5 cups frozen peas (25 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely shredded Roncal or semi-aged sheep's-milk cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coarsely shredded Majorero or other mild, buttery, semi-aged
How to Make It
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallot and thyme and cook over moderately low heat until the shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the water and all but 1 cup of the peas and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the peas are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of peas and simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Discard the thyme. Stir in the parsley.
Working in batches, puree the sweet pea soup in a blender. Strain the soup through a coarse sieve set over another medium saucepan. Season the soup with salt and keep warm.
Set a medium nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Spread four 1-tablespoon mounds of the Roncal in the skillet and flatten slightly. Cook the cheese over moderate heat until bubbling and set on the bottom, about 3 minutes; do not brown. Using a spatula, transfer the crisps to paper towels. Let cool until firm. Repeat with the remaining cheese.
In a small glass bowl, heat the heavy cream in a microwave at high power until boiling, about 30 seconds. Add the Majorero and heat until the cheese is just melted, about 20 seconds. Stir until blended.
Ladle the soup into small bowls. Swirl in the Majorero cream and serve with the Roncal crisps.
The pea soup can be refrigerated overnight. The crisps can be made earlier in the day and reheated in a 325° oven for 1 minute.
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