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English Pea Soup

English pea soup

I am addicted to KCRW’s Good Food podcast. I love host Evan Kleiman’s effervescent yet lucid tone as she investigates a wide spectrum of food-related topics. And I especially love the kick-off segment, the Market Report with Laura Avery, who interviews farmer’s market vendors and local chefs with the intensity and sincerity of an embedded reporter in Tikrit.

The main reason I enjoy the Market Report, though, is hearing what produce is coming into season in sunny SoCal, knowing that in a matter of weeks the same things are likely to crop up here in the north. Case in point: English peas.

The peas first made their market debut during Avery’s March 1 report, and started appearing at Ferry Plaza a few weeks later. Now, at the tail end of their season, I was able to nab a good hearty bagful at the Noe Valley market, pods plump with bright green orbs within. In Avery’s report, she talked with LA überchef Mark Peel of Campanile, who shared a simple, fresh pea soup with a luscious, creamy texture without using actual cream. In fact, Peel’s original recipe is completely vegan, with just peas, potatoes, onion and garlic. I used chicken stock simply because we have gallons of the stuff.

The pureed potatoes and peas lend a soothing, velvety texture and pleasant weight. A simple garnish of a few glowing dots of bright-green McEvoy Ranch olive oil completes the presentation. A perfect bowlful of springtime freshness.

English pea soup
lightly adapted from Mark Peel of Campanile, via KCRW’s Good Food

2 1/2 lbs unshelled English peas, yielding 1 to 1 1/2 lbs shelled peas
1/2 lb potato, peeled and diced
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves spring garlic

ingredients in a medium soup pot with about three inches water and/or stock to cover
all the ingredients.  Simmer until tender.  Puree soup in a blender.
Strain through a coarse sieve.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with drops of very good extra-virgin olive oil.


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