For Pea Stock:
Canola or sunflower oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, washed thoroughly and sliced
2 fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped
Reserved fresh, empty pea pods
3-4 qts. water
2½-3 qts. chilled pea stock, divided
1 lb. fresh shelled peas
8 ozs. spinach
to taste Salt
to taste freshly ground pepper
as needed Crème fraiche
Pea tendrils & edible flowers
- For pea stock: In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks and fennel and sweat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add pea pods and enough water to cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables.
- In a large pot, bring half the pea stock to a boil. In a large bowl, keep the remaining stock chilled; you’ll use it to shock the vegetables after they blanch.
- Once the stock comes to a boil, add the peas and blanch them for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and continue blanching the vegetables for 1 minute more. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to quickly transfer the peas and spinach to the chilled pea stock to stop the cooking process and cool the vegetables quickly. Chill the stock used for blanching.
- Once all the ingredients are cold, add the bowl of vegetables and stock to a blender and blend until smooth, adding the chilled stock (used for blanching) a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve or chinois to remove any fibrous bits of vegetable. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour soup into serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of whipped crème fraiche and pea tendrils, if desired. Can be served warm — simply reheat the soup gently in a large pot — or chilled.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Christian Kruse, Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director, Basin Harbor Resort, Vergennes, Vt.