Frozen peas are better than fresh peas.
There. I said it.
Maybe, if you are standing right there in the garden and the peas are ready for picking, you could pull some pea pods off the vine and eat a handful of them. Then yes, those would be better than frozen peas. But it’s a rare thing to have all those variables just right. So I’m sticking with the frozen peas, which are picked at the right time and frozen quickly to retain their colour and flavour. And are readily available all year round.
Use them to make this soup and pretend it’s June.
Here’s what to do.
Get some fresh mint. Chop a handful of it.
And some pancetta. Cut into smaller pieces.
Tear the bread into pieces. Drizzle it with olive oil, then add salt and pepper. Cover the bread with the pancetta, then the mint.
Put all of that into the oven for 15 minutes and make the most flavourful croutons ever.
Meanwhile, get some scallions and a shallot (this is a little different than the recipe).
Dice them and cook them, along with some mint, in butter.
Add the peas and chicken stock.
When that’s all cooked, puree the soup.
Pour some soup into a bowl, add some of the bread/pancetta/mint mixture and top with sour cream.
Minted Pea Soup with Crispy Pancetta, Bread and Sour Cream
1/2 loaf stale white bread
extra virgin olive oil
1 large handful of fresh mint, leaves stripped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices pancetta or bacon
1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
2 pats butter
1 pound, 2 ounces frozen peas
1 quart chicken stock
7 Tbsp. heavy cream
4 tsp. sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Take crusts off bread and pinch off irregular dice-size pieces. put these in a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil, scatter over some of the mint leaves and season with salt and pepper. Chop the pancetta, add it to the roasting pan, and bake until the bread and pancetta are crunchy and golden- 15-20 minutes.
meanwhile, in a medium to large saucepan, slowly fry scallions and remaining mint in the butter for about 3 min, or until soft. Turn heat up, add frozen peas and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, add heavy cream, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Puree the soup until it’s very smooth (you may want to do this in batches). Correct the seasoning very carefully to taste. Remember: add, taste, add, taste. By this time the bread and pancetta should be nice and crisp, so ladle the soup into the bowls and sprinkle over the bread, mint leaves, and pancetta. Add a little sour cream and drizzle with some peppery extra-virgin olive oil.