This play on split pea soup gets its vibrant flavor from fresh peas and fennel. The garnish, ham with baby greens and chives, adds a bit of elegance.
Slideshow:More Pea Recipes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small fennel bulb—thick stalk discarded, bulb thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
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
How to Make It
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.
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