Sometimes I feel there’s this imaginary divide in my brain between “regular” cooking and “fancy” cooking. Regular cooking is the sort of throw-it-together meal that happens on a busy weeknight, like sandwiches or quesadillas, while fancy cooking involves an extensive ingredient list or a dish that I would be more likely to order at a restaurant than make myself. For whatever reason, chilled soup always seemed to be fancy cooking for me. Do people actually make cold soup, or is it just something to be served in tiny little cups as an amuse bouche at the beginning of a rather expensive meal?
Surprise! It turns out chilled soups are nothing more than regular soups with an ice bath thrown in for fun. I made this lovely, fragrant pea soup this week and served it for dinner with a homemade baguette and ricotta cheese. It was a quick and easy meal that certainly felt special. Plus, we dined al fresco, which is “fancy cooking” for outside on the balcony in the late evening sun.
Chilled Spring Pea and Mint Soup
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 lb. fresh or frozen peas
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Stir in peas and sauté for 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in mint leaves, then blend using an immersion blender until smooth. (You can also use a regular blender, just do it in batches.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour soup into a bowl over an ice bath and cool, stirring occasionally. Finish chilling soup in the refrigerator, then serve.
Source: Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends.
Nutrition facts (per serving): 130 calories, 4.9 g fat, 17.1 g carbs, 4.2 g fiber, 4.5 g protein.