My husband and kids were away this past Sunday, so I seized the opportunity to stroll through the farmer’s market north of my town. (As much as I like taking my little ones to the market to have them see and connect with fresh produce, I have to admit, slowly picking your way through crowds of people carrying baskets and bags heavy with fruits and vegetables is considerably less stressful without young children in tow.)
I mentioned in an earlier post that I rarely buy fresh cut flowers (see “[Un]Floral Arrangements“), but the stalls were overflowing with gorgeous dahlias–one of my favorite flowers, so I picked up a lovely bouquet to brighten the home. Peaches, plums and first of the season apples were also in abundance. I’ve been working on a low-sugar peach cake recipe, but it’s not ready yet, so stay tuned.
Many of the farmers offered bags of fresh peas and beans. I bought a big bag of English peas because there’s nothing quite so pretty as a bowl of pea soup made with freshly-shelled (not frozen!) peas.*
This recipe is simple and the presentation pretty enough to serve to guests.
2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
1 qt reduced-sodium organic chicken broth (or your own stock if you have it)
4 cups freshly-shelled peas
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup toasted almond slices
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 tsp salt and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent (approximately 5 minutes). Pour in the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.
In the meantime, set aside several sprigs of tiny mint leaves (the parts at the very top of each stalk). In a food processor, whiz the remaining mint, oil and 1/4 tsp salt until finely chopped.
Puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Ladle into soup bowls, drizzle with the mint oil, and sprinkle with almonds and reserved mint leaves.
Serve immediately, although this soup is also delicious at room temperature.
*You might think me crazy for saying it, but I find shelling peas very therapeutic. It might seem mindless and tedious, but so is pushing around sand with a miniature rake in a “Zen Garden,” and thousands of people found that stress-relieving. Give it a try!