Ham and peas—a classic combination—star in this verdant soup. It's worth seeking out the freshest English peas, which are in season in the spring and early summer. Then, gild the lily with a finishing touch of the best-quality olive oil.
Slideshow: More Cold Soup Recipes
4 thin slices of prosciutto (2 ounces)
4 cups shelled English peas (3 1/2 pounds in the pod)
Preheat the oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and arrange the prosciutto in an even layer on top. Bake for about 2 hours in the center of the oven, flipping once, until dehydrated and very crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool, then break into pieces.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the peas until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to the ice water to cool. Reserve 1 3/4 cups of the cooking water.
Drain the peas and add to a blender. With the machine on, add the reserved cooking water in a thin stream and puree until very smooth. (You may not need all of the reserved water.) Blend in simple syrup to taste. Strain the soup through a fine sieve and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the prosciutto crisps and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
The soup can be refrigerated overnight.
For faster prosciutto crisps: Preheat the oven to 350°. On a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, arrange the slices of prosciutto in a single layer and bake until crisp, about 17 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool, then break into large pieces.
Unoaked, full-bodied white.
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