Every year, I grow some sugar snap peas AND shelling peas in my garden. Even though sugar snap peas seem more practical because of their succulent pods and forgiving harvesting cycle, I just love the flavour of big fat shelled peas, straight out of the pod. It’s my favourite garden snack. I almost never cook with them though – it always seems like after they’re shelled, you hardly have enough to really make a full recipe of anything. So, they get tossed on top of salads, or eaten out of hand.
Last week, this all changed. I was looking for recipes for a workshop that was to center on ‘eating the whole plant’, and I found a fantastic recipe for green pea soup that uses the whole, unshelled pea pod to maximize the fresh green flavour. What better to make just when peas are in season? We served this soup warm, but I think it would make an even tastier chilled soup that would be incredibly refreshing on a hot day. To go along with the theme of eating the whole plant, we served the soup with a gorgeous and tasty salad made of pea shoots that I had plucked off my sugar snap plants at home and topped it off with nasturtiums from the garden.
(Keep in mind, that even if you don’t make this soup, the shells from fresh peas are great to toss in a pot of homemade veggie stock.)
Green Pea Soup with Mint (from The Kitchen Garden Cookbook)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 potato, coarsely chopped
1 lb peas in their pods, coarsely chopped
5 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp sugar
1 sprig of mint
salt and pepper
1. Cook the onion gently in the butter for 7-10 minutes, stirring until soft. Add the remaining soup ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for at least 20 minutes, until the peas and potato are very soft. Discard the mint.
2. Working in batches if necessary, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Pass through a coarse sieve or colander to remove the pods and pea skins. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, either reheat, or chill and serve cold. Serve garnished with chopped fresh mint and parsley. A dollop of plain yogurt would also be nice.
4 cups of pea shoots (the youngest shoots of your pea plant)
2 cups nastutiums flowers and leaves
coarsely chopped herbs like basil, lemon balm, chives, or dill.
Toss together and dress with a simple dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup.
What are you having for supper tonight?