I recently had a potluck brunch at home. The offerings were varied, and because of that, wonderful.
Almond cookies, soft boiled eggs, a little champagne, some salmon, cream puffs, berries and cream... and of course hot tea and freshly brewed French press coffee (with crushed cardamom).
One of the other items was pea soup.
Pea soup for brunch may sound a little odd, but this was a FRESH and springy pea soup.
Well, since I enjoyed it, and happen to love soup in general, I thought I'd try to make a version.
The only type I'd ever made was split pea. Not exactly the same thing.
What can I say? I was inspired- and frankly decided I needed a spring pea soup in the repertoire.
Other than the really fresh taste, the color turned out fantastic- perfect for spring.
Soups don't need to be difficult. They could be involved, but it's not required, and the possibilities are practically endless.
Of course, starting with the basics is a good idea with most any soup: onion, carrot, celery, and a little garlic. They give a nice foundation.
In fact, they give a nice foundation to practically every savory thing you could cook.
Then, of course, broth and the main flavors of peas and pesto (basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic).
Plus there's a little cream added in the end for richness.
I think it's best served cool or cold- all the flavors seem much more present and deeper this way.
Something to keep in mind is that when a soup is cold you'll likely need a bit more seasoning.
A tip: you can finalize seasonings when cold, but make sure the salt you use is more finely ground as it will dissolve more easily.
I think it'll be a course for Easter...
Sweet Pea and Pesto Soup
3 T (45 ml) olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 c (about 1 L) chicken or vegetable broth
good pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lb (about 450 g) fresh or frozen peas
3 T (30 g) toasted pine nuts
1 1/2 oz (42 g) fresh basil (stems removed and leaves reserved)
3/4 c (31 g) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 c (120 ml) half and half (light cream)
1/2 c (120 ml) heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Saute 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened a bit and the onions are translucent.
Add the minced garlic, saute about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
Pour in the broth and sprinkle in the cayenne pepper, bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat slightly simmer about 15 minutes so the vegetables soften fully.
Add the peas to the hot broth and let cook through (about 10 minutes if frozen, but more like 5 if fresh).
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the toasted pine nuts.
Puree the soup in a blender in batches until smooth, adding a small handful of basil to puree with each batch. Pour the puree into another pot or container as you go.
After all the soup has been pureed, whisk the Parmesan through warm soup to fully incorporate
Whisk the heavy and light cream into the mixture and add salt, black pepper, and extra cayenne pepper to taste. Thin with extra cream, warm broth, or milk if desired.
Chill several hours. Serve cool.