Cold Pea Soup with Crème Fraîche and Chives
In this refreshing chilled soup, faintly oniony chives and the light tang of both buttermilk and crème fraîche enhance fresh spring peas without overwhelming their delicate nature.
- 2 lb. English peas in their pods
- 5 large butter lettuce leaves
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 bunch fresh chives
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
Shell the peas, pressing your thumb against the seam of each pod to force it open. You should have 2 cups shelled peas. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and boil until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain through a large sieve, rinse under cold running water until cool and then drain well.
Tear the lettuce into small pieces. In a blender, combine the peas, lettuce, buttermilk and salt and process until completely smooth. Pour the soup into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled and the flavors are blended, about 2 hours.
Using kitchen shears, snip the chives into very small pieces. Stir the crème fraîche with a fork so it is fluid. Divide the soup evenly among chilled small soup bowls. Spoon the crème fraîche onto each serving, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each serving with some of the chives and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers, by Amy Sherman (Oxmoor House, 2008).