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Chilled spring pea soup

Chilled spring pea soup

- Courtesy of Chef Matt Stowe, Top Chef Canada winner!

This soup is a great way to start a dinner on a warm spring evening or serve it with some poached prawns or other seafood for a light lunch. The soup is very simple to make. The key is to have a strong, high speed blender. The smoother the soup is, the richer it tastes -even though there is no butter or cream in this recipe! You can garnish the soup with whatever you like; bacon, crème fraiche, caviar, poached scallops or crab meat are all great accompaniments. You can serve this soup hot as well, but I prefer it ice cold. Serves 4-6 people.

Ingredients:

Soup:
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 cups fresh, shucked spring peas, or frozen peas
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 liter ice cold vegetable stock
  • 1 tablesppon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Pickled onion:
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sliced red pearl onions or sliced red onion

Whipped Yoghurt:

  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Crispy Prosciutto:
  • 1/3 cup prosciutto, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Sourdough croutons:

  • 3 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed, diced into ¼” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Garnish:

  • 16-20 pieces pea shoots

Directions:

For the soup:  Combine the onion and olive oil in a small saucepot and place on medium heat.  Sweat the onions for 5-6 minutes ensuring that they don’t color at all.  Add the water and allow to cook until the onions are tender and the water has evaporated. It should take approximately 10-15 minutes.  Remove onions from the pot and place in the refrigerator until cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Heavily salt the water until it tastes like the ocean.  Add your peas and sugar snap peas, and boil for 5 minutes.  Add the spinach and continue to boil for another 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the peas and spinach from the pot and plunge into an ice bath. Once cool, remove the peas and spinach from the ice bath and place in a blender.  Add the cooled onions, sugar, vegetable stock and blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes until very smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.   For an even smoother consistency, strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pickled onions:  In a small saucepot, combine the vinegar, salt and sugar, and bring to a boil.  Add the onions and set aside until cool.  Transfer to a plastic container with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Whipped Yoghurt:  Mix the yogurt, half and half and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.  Transfer the mixture into a whipping cream canister and charge with 1 CO2 cartridge.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crispy Prosciutto:  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Toss the julienne prosciutto and olive oil in a small bowl and spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown and crisp.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Place in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid.  Store at room temperature.

Sourdough croutons:  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Toss the diced bread and the olive oil until well combined.  On a parchment lined baking sheet spread out the bread in an even layer.  Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the bread is lightly browned and fully dried and crisp.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

To Assemble:  Divide the soup among the bowls. Spray the whipped yogurt into a small bowl and spoon the yoghurt into the middle of the soup.  Top with crispy prosciutto, croutons, pickled onions and pea shoots.
 

You can find more great recipes from Chef Matt Stowe on his blog.