April 05, 2007

Course the First: Chilled Pea Soup with Mint Cream and Radish Crostini

Lots of updates today. See below for more.

Chilled Pea Soup with Mint Cream and Radish Crostini

This soup tastes of springtime: light, barely sweet and ephemeral. The nasturtium and radish crostini help keep the sweetness in check. If nasturtiums are not available, watercress would make a fine substitute. We enjoyed a bottle of Ojai Vineyard Viogner 2004 with the soup and the two complimented each other well.

2 lbs English peas in shell
1 large bunch spring onions, sliced thinly and divided
5 branches parsley
2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp fresh mint, finely minced
8 nasturtium blossoms, stamens removed

Shell peas and reserve pods.

In a soup pot, combine the reserved pods, the equivalent of three spring onions, parsley and 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and let cook twenty minutes. Strain broth and set aside.

Heat butter in soup pot over medium-low heat. When melted, add 1/2 cup of onion. Let cook until barely translucent, 2-3 minutes, being careful not to brown onions. Add 1/2 cup of broth the stew onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and peas to pot. Cook until peas are still al dente, about 4-5 minutes, then remove from heat. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Add more broth if the consistency is thicker than cream. Chill until cold.

One hour before serving prepare the cream. Combine cream and mint in a bowl. Cover and chill.

Plating: Pour mint cream into a squirt bottle. Give the soup a good stir to recombine. Ladle soup into bowls and decorate however you see fit with cream and nasturtium. If you choose to serve them, don't forget the crostini like I almost did.

Serves 8

Radish Crostini

I found watermelon radishes at the market on Tuesday, which explains the deep pink color. Any kind of radish, as long as it is freshly picked and not too woody, would work well here.

8 very thin slices of baguette
4 TB room temperature butter
2 tsp mint, julienned very finely
5 young, fresh radish leaves, julienned very finely
zest of half of a lemon
2 large radishes, or equivalent, sliced very thinly
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine butter, mint, radish leaves and zest. Mix well.

Right before serving, construct toasts. Spread crostini thickly with butter and cover with radish slices. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Serves 8

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Anonymous arif said...

In the chilled Pea Soup with Mint Cream, is the flower edible?

August 08, 2007 9:08 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...


Yup, nasturtiums are edible as long as you know that they are pesticide-free. They taste peppery, similar to watercress or arugula, without the nuttiness.

August 13, 2007 12:36 PM  

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