Fresh pea soup with creme fraiche
Fresh peas have a short season and I wasn’t expecting to find any on my last market trip but what do you know, here they were. They looked crisp and fresh so I bought a large bag and brought them home. I sat with a bowl like an old fashioned mamma and shelled the cute little peas wondering what to do with them. By the time I finished shelling I knew they were going into a soup. You could make the soup with frozen peas, if fresh ones are not available, but half the fun is shelling the peas, at least for me.
The soup is creamy and velvety and has a delicate flavour. You can add a few mint leaves of you like the peas and mint combination. The cream is also optional but adds a richness and rounds up the flavour. I serve it with a dollop of creme fraiche and micro greens garnish.
It’s hard to believe but you cannot find micro greens in Kelowna. They have sprouts, but not micro greens. On the advice of my friend Val I bought seeds and started to grow them myself. The big surprise was how easy it is to grow your own. I place the seeds in soil in a number of small pots, keep them watered and within days I have perfectly formed micro greens that I can use to garnish foods. I did the same with edible flowers and have quite a crop of all kinds of lovely little flowers that i add to salads and use as garnish.
It’s a little late to talk about growing things from seeds as it is definitely fall here and the flowers on the patio are turning colour. I am closing the patio earlier this year because we leave for an extended stay in Italy in October and my gardener needs to have the patio winterized before we leave. I am not sure if I will harvest the abundance of herbs growing here. Last year I dried and saved them in jars but I had more than I needed even after sharing them with friends.
Speaking of Italy, I finally arranged the rental in Rome and took this item off my list. Choosing an apartment was difficult. There are thousands of apartments for rent in Rome and I have looked at most of them. The nice apartments are expensive and I managed to find something wrong with every one I saw. If it had 2 bedrooms it didn’t have an elevator, if it had an elevator it was in the wrong area, if it was the right area the apartment was too small. If the apartment was of the right size the kitchen not good. If the kitchen was good the bedrooms were not. You get the drift. Eventually I had to settle on a 2 bedroom apartment just north of the Spanish Steps, not far from the American embassy. It is supposed to be a nice area with reasonable accessibility to the main sites of Rome. The apartment looks interesting in the pictures but we’ll see. I know that everything looks better in pictures.
Florence, however, is a different story. Rental is more reasonable and I found an apartment that is absolutely perfect. It’s located along the river just 200 meters from Ponte Vecchio. I am quite confident that in florence I have a winner. We will stay there 3 weeks before moving on to Rome for another month. There is a give and take when you travel and you have to go with the flow.
With that said, here is the recipe for the soup.
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups shelled green peas, fresh
4 cups vegetable stock or water, more as needed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cream
Creme fraiche for serving
Heat the butter and oil in a soup pot (I use Le Creuset).
Add the onion and cook on medium heat until the onion os soft and fragrant. Do not let it brown.
Add the peas and stir to coat them with the butter.
Add the stock and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and cook until the peas are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Taste and add salt and pepper. how much depends on the stock you put in.
Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
Using an immersion blender puree the soup in the pot to the consistency you like, or transfer to a blender and puree until fine.
To serve, fill the bowls with the soup, garnish with micro greens and a dollop of creme fraiche.