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:
- I don’t own a food processor, and
- 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
- 3 lbs English Peas, shelled (I used frozen peas in lieu of fresh)
- Vegetable Stock (high-quality, if not fresh)
- White Truffle Oil
- Parmesan Crisps (recipe here)
- Regardless of fresh or frozen peas, shock them in a bowl of ice water to bring out their bright color.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve into individual bowls.
- Top with a generous drizzle of truffle oil and a Parmesan Crisp. (Thomas Keller swirled the truffle oil in, I liked it on top).