Oh spring, you are here.
I have been waiting for you.
Unfortunately, along with spring comes wild and frenetic recital madness at our little ballet school. Even my usually calm and collected teaching partner, Kirsta, has admitted to feeling frazzled — which scares me. Our students seem to have little interest in learning choreography or doing anything really, beyond running around the studio, shrieking, and jumping on each other (spring fever), and if you have never had to costume dozens of squirming 4 and 5 year-olds, then let me assure you, it is like trying to dress an army of epileptic octopuses.
When things get hectic at school, our house begins to resemble the inside of my locker at the Dance Complex (where we teach our classes). Bits of fabric, ribbons, CDs, ballet books, and socks are strewn about. Along with the odd half-eaten banana, empty tea mugs, paper bags, scissors, yesterday’s clothes and a leotard or two. Time to cook becomes scarce, thai take-out, a little more prevalent. Fortunately there are recipes out there such as this incredibly easy, quick and delicious spring soup. For the amount of prep time this soup required, I was expecting something edible, but hardly memorable. I was very wrong.
Make this soup when you are busy, when you aren’t, as the first course of a fancy dinner, as a simple supper with some crusty bread and a fried egg — it can really fit in just about anywhere. Enjoy!
Fresh Pea and Mint Soup, adapted from Bon Apetit, April 2010
Unlike the split pea soup that many of you may have grown up with, this soup is lighter in color and texture, with the mint and shallots giving it a wonderful delicateness. Even if you think pea soup is not your thing, this one is worth a shot.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 2/3 cups chopped shallots (about 6 very large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 5 pounds peas in pods) or two 16-ounce bags frozen petite peas, unthawed (I used frozen, with fantastic results, just make sure they are petite)
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use the Whole Foods 365 brand, it is quite tasty and often on sale)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint plus additional for garnish
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Add peas and stir 1 minute. Add 5 1/2 cups broth and bring to simmer. Cook until peas are very tender, about 8 minutes.
Cool 15 minutes. Puree soup and 1/4 cup chopped mint in batches in blender until smooth or use a hand-held immersion blender. Return to same pot; thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.
Re-warm soup over medium-low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; garnish with additional mint.