I’ve had my eye on a Vitamix for quite some time and finally took the plunge this past weekend. I had a hard time getting over the sticker shock (it’s a blender after all), but I love it. It’s by far one of the best kitchen appliances I’ve purchased — how did I live without it for so long? I immediately took it out of the box and have not stopped using it ever since. Made a lovely Mexican pumpkin [pipián] seed sauce yesterday. On several previous attempts, my pumpkin sauce never came out quite right; could never get it as smooth as I wanted — always a bit too lumpy. This time, incredibly smooth and velvety, drizzled over a piece of grilled salmon, made for one tasty dinner (will be posting soon).
Today, I made a simple chilled pea soup — light and refreshing and a perfect dish on a sunny spring day. You can use fresh or frozen peas. Normally I would choose fresh over frozen peas (texturally I prefer fresh peas, frozen peas are a bit too mushy for my liking). But, the frozen peas are actually perfect for this soup, since it all eventually goes into the blender.
For a special occasion, you can jazz up the soup with a little jumbo lump crab meat (preferably blue crab). What can I say, I’m biased (am a Marylander) — blue crabs are the best. Today, just garnished with a few peas, fresh mint, lemon zest, and a drizzle of yogurt.
You can prepare ahead of time and have it waiting for you chilled in the refrigerator. All you have to do is portion, garnish, and enjoy.
Chilled Pea Soup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks (and greens), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
2 (10-ounce bags) frozen baby peas (or the equivalent of fresh peas)
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
fresh mint, thinly sliced
dollop of yogurt or crème fraîche
fresh jumbo lump crab meat (preferably blue crab)
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the celery, onion, and leek and cook over moderately-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 6-7 minutes. Add the stock, a pinch of salt and pepper and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a blender (reserve the stock).
In the meantime, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 3 minutes. Add the baby peas and parsley and cook for another minute. Drain. Add the sugar snap peas, peas, and parsley to the blender, along with the celery, onion, and leek, and process until very smooth. Add a few tablespoons of the stock to loosen the mixture. Taste and season with salt. Chill in the refrigerator or you can transfer to a bowl and set over a bowl of ice. Ladle the chilled soup into individual bowls, add desired garnishes, and serve immediately.