Even though the smell of split pea soup appeals to me, I’ve just never loved the taste. It’s kind of weird. How can you like the way something smells and not enjoy the flavor? Especially when ham is involved? It’s a little mystery. Jedd doesn’t even like the smell. Which, again, is weird. There’s ham in that bowl!
So in the back of my head, I had discounted all pea soups as something I wasn’t crazy about.
And then we went to Montreal about four years ago with some friends. We were meandering around Ville Marie or Old Montreal (I really don’t remember which one) when the sky opened up and it started pouring. Which meant that we needed to find a place for dinner “toot sweet.”
We stumbled onto a charming French restaurant (which is like shooting fish in a barrel in Montreal) and ordered wine. The restaurant was so small – and the people were so kind – that Jedd and I had a hard time turning down the complimentary bowl of pea soup they offered us.
With the kind waiter watching us (we looked like drowned rats so we probably brought out his paternal instinct), we all took a bite of the soup.
Our friends assured him that it was very good. And that made him happy.
Jedd and I had a different reaction.
Me: “This soup is *bleepity bleep bleep* amazing!”
Jedd: “This soup just blew my frigg*ng mind!”
We didn’t actually swear at our sweet Montreal waiter though.
But I’m sure we were inappropriately enthusiastic.
The soup was fantastic. Light and lemony and filled with herbs and fresh baby peas. We’re still not fans of split pea soup, mind you. That’s a different beast entirely. But give us fresh peas and a luscious broth? We’ll swear enthusiastically all night.
So, last Sunday I tried to recreate it.
And it was very, very, good.
Jedd may have even uttered some cheerful profanity while eating it.
Fresh Pea Soup with Mint and Lemon
Makes 4 cups.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small red onion, diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 ½ cups baby peas (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon fresh pea shoots
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the broth, peas and worcestershire. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, mint and pea shoots. Turn the heat off and ladle soup into a blender. Cover the blender with a heavy towel, so you can’t get splashed. Blend to desired consistency.
Pour into bowls and serve immediately.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)