Fresh pea soup
Have you ever eaten fresh pea soup? Prior to this latest experiment with my garden produce, I'd only ever had the kind made with dried peas and ham. Good as grandma's dried pea soup was--and, boy, it was good the way she made it--I was intrigued when I read Alice Waters' recipe for a version made with fresh peas (in The Art of Simple Food).
I needed to gather about 2 to 3 cups of peas for the recipe. And the exciting part here is that, for the first time in my five years with an edible garden, 2 to 3 cups of shelled peas was a real possibility. At last, I had a good space in which to plant a decent quantity of seeds, and I got them in the ground early. The result? A bunch of now-shoulder-high plants, dripping with pods ready for picking.
Having learned in the past that peas get terribly starchy and bitter if left on the vine too long, I've been keeping a good eye on them this year. I picked one round of the plumpest pods early last week. That gave me a little more than a cup's worth, which I decided to blanch and freeze until I could collect another round on the weekend. (Yes, a cup's worth of peas collected in a single day is considered "success" in my still "small scale" veg garden.)
Here's the simple process for blanching and freezing:
- Put on a pot of water to boil while you're shelling your peas
- Get a bowl of ice water ready
- Add the peas to the boiling water and let them cook for about 90 seconds
- Strain out the peas and drop them immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking process
- Leave them in the ice bath for all long as you boiled them--90 seconds
- Drain the peas, put them in a freezer bag and store
Over the weekend, I picked a second round of peas--about a cup and a half or so--and combined the fresh and frozen batches with onions sauteed in olive oil, salt, and a few cups of water. I put the whole bit through the food mill, and there we had it--the freshest, sweetest, most brilliantly colored pea soup I've ever eaten.
Previous posts about peas:
Eating the Peas
Little Marvels and the Not-So-Marvelous