Purée of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps

Purée of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps

I have been dying to make this recipe ever since buying The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. It was the first recipe I saw, and my mouth watered immediately. There were two obstacles, however:

  1. I don’t own a food processor, and
  2. It wasn’t spring, and therefore there were no English peas in season

Since, apparently, both of these things are still true, I took some shortcuts, but the result was still outstanding. Bright green, bursting with flavor, and delicious hot or cold.

Purée of English Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps

Serves 6. Recipe care of The French Laundry Cookbook

ingredients

  • 3 lbs English Peas, shelled (I used frozen peas in lieu of fresh)
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Stock (high-quality, if not fresh)
  • White Truffle Oil
  • Parmesan Crisps (recipe here)

instructions

  1. Regardless of fresh or frozen peas, shock them in a bowl of ice water to bring out their bright color.
  2. The recipe recommends boiling 7 quarts of water, 1 cup Sugar, and 1 1/2 cups Salt. No offense to Thomas Keller, but this is way too much. You will throw away much of the water, and need the largest pot in your kitchen to contain it which will take forever to boil. Instead, fill a 4-quart pot with water, add 1/2 cup Sugar and 3/4 cup Salt, or however much water your favorite pot can hold along with salt and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil.
  3. Boil the peas in batches. You don’t want the want the water to stop boiling, and you don’t want to crowd the pot. Boil until tender, 10 minutes.
  4. While you’re waiting, put a colander into a large bowl of ice water. Once the peas are cooked through, strain the peas into another bath of ice water. If you’re doing multiple batches of peas, leave the cooked peas in here so they keep their color.
  5. Here’s where I skipped some steps. Because I don’t have a food processor, I just threw the peas and the vegetable stock into the blender and blended. How much vegetable stock? Just enough that the peas will blend. Taste the concoction along the way. If it’s too flavorful, add some water instead of vegetable stock. We have a “Will it blend?” blender, so it got very smooth. Had we a food processor, we’d have processed the peas, and then put the entire mush through a sieve, then blended the puré with the stock. I’m sure there’s a difference between my lazy version and Thomas Keller’s attention to detail, but mine also tasted amazing.
  6. At this point you can either chill the soup or heat it, as the soup will be pretty lukewarm after the boiling and then soaking in ice. I heated.
  7. Serve into individual bowls.
  8. Top with a generous drizzle of truffle oil and a Parmesan Crisp. (Thomas Keller swirled the truffle oil in, I liked it on top).

 

Summer’s Last Gift, Harvest Tomato Soup

Summer’s Last Gift, Harvest Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup for the Soul

There are few things better in this world than a late tomato harvest. Of course, by this time you’ve had all the salads, salsas and sauces you can stand, and the weather has started to turn chilly.

Enter Tomato Soup.

Summer Tomatoes

The last fruits of the season

First you start with some standard soup veggies; Celery, Carrots and onions. I was lacking onions so I used some shallots I had lying around. I like to sauté these in a little bacon fat with salt until they are tender, but you could use butter, olive oil or lard if you like.

While they are in the pan, peel your tomatoes, which is easier if you pop them in a pot of boiling water for 3 – 5 seconds.

Once the veggies are tender, I added the chopped tomatoes, your favorite spices (I used Italian Seasoning) and enough chicken stock to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for as long as you like, at least 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more the broth will reduce and thicker your soup will be. I simmered mine about 35 minutes.

Working in batches, blend the goods until smooth. Here you can add as much salt and pepper as your heart desires. White pepper will keep your soup from having spots, but I don’t mind the fresh-cracked-pepper/are-those-ants-in-your-soup look.

I like to garnish with parsley, Monkey prefers goldfish crackers. Sometimes I’ll add some shredded cheese, plain yogurt or heavy cream, which will turn the soup into a bisque. The sky is really the limit here.

Harvest Tomato Soup

ingredients

Chopped Tomato

Isn’t she a beauty!?!?

  • 1 – 4 tbsp Bacon Grease/Olive Oil/Butter/Lard
  • 1 – 3 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1 – 3 Carrots, sliced
  • 1  Onion or 1 – 4 Shallots/Scallions, chopped
  • 3 – 12 of your favorite Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Chicken Stock
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garnishes

instructions

  1. Combine onions of your choice, celery and carrots in a saucepan with oil of your choice over medium heat. Sauté until tender.

    Veggies

    Sauté them, there veggies

  2. Add tomatoes, spices and enough chicken stock so all veggies are taking a bath. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes to an hour.

    Boiling

    Boil ’em good and done!

  3. Working in batches, blend until smooth.
  4. Return soup to pot and season as desired.
  5. Serve and garnish with your choice of toppings.

Tomato Soup for the Soul