…and other fresh things
It was time to cook the English Peas I got at the Iacopi Farm stand at Saturday’s market the second week of their young season. As I shelled them I couldn’t help but notice how crisp and fresh they were and was thinking about a good, simple, pure thing to do with them so that their flavor would sing. I had about a cup-and-a-half of peas.
Consulting my recipe files, I came across this (Eric is number one son):
Fresh Pea Soup
Here’s what we’ve been serving on our table recently. Recipes from Eric & Alison’s Tilth Table, November 1998 (From the River Cafe Cook Book)
2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, and 1 clove crushed garlic
1 bunch mint
2 1/2 pounds peas, shelled
2 cups chicken stock
grated Parmesean cheese
Saute onion and garlic in oil and butter until brown add peas, most of mint, and stock, cook until peas are just tender remove half of the peas to a food processor and pulverize them. Add them back to the rest of the peas serve in bowls topped with cheese.
Carol brought home a bunch of mint that grows wild in her school’s yard at SF State, roots and all, so I was all set there.
I realized at the last minute that the recipe calls for a sweet onion. I had only yellow and red onions so I took a walk to Real Food, a couple blocks away. When I asked the produce guy, he said he had no sweet onions, but pointed out young red spring onions. If they taste as good as they look, they’ll be a delight. Three of those, chopped made a scant cup.
I thawed some of my homemade chicken stock made with pasture raised chicken – including the feet and head – making a rich gelatinous stock.
I’ve had this recipe for 12 years… why did I wait so long? The soup was garnished with creme fraiche and mint leaves.This was really good. I loved biting into the fresh whole peas in the soup for a burst of flavor. EZ too, making two “side dish” servings plus one serving left over.
I wanted something equally simple, clean and spring-like to go with the pea soup as a main course. I cubed part of a thick slice of ham from Marin Sun Farms, par-boiled and cubed an equal amount of potatoes. I fried those kind of crispy in a hot cast iron skillet with butter and olive oil. I deglazed the pan with red wine, a little broth, another pat of butter, a dollup of cream, and reduced that for a sauce. That, my friends, is good eats.