Pea and Lettuce Soup

Check out them housewares – way louder than the bright green soup, even. Food blogging from the 70s, here…I had two shots before the camera died, and eating was a higher priority than waiting for the batteries to charge and getting a better picture. My apologies.

The inspiration for this is peas and lettuce. If you’ve never had the pleasure: fresh peas are turned in a pan with butter and a little bit of chopped onion or shallot. (I’d recommend shallot.) Torn Boston (also known as butter) lettuce is added and cooked until just wilted. A little salt and pepper is added, and you’re there.

This version is lightly adapted from Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. This soup is the easy way to welcome spring, because it uses frozen peas. Frozen peas don’t feel very springlike when you’re dumping them out of the package and they’re rattling into the work bowl of the food processor, but if you can get past that to cooking them, they’ll feel much more verdant when you’re done.

If it’s not quite springtime where you are, even better; though the peaches, plums, nectarines and almonds are all blooming up a storm out here, I know not everyone is as lucky. This will bring a little vernal spirit to your kitchen if the weather is still raw outside. It may make you yearn to go bare-legged, though.

This soup is a bit of a puzzler for what to serve with it; it’s so green that you feel you should hardly put anything green with it. Most of the springtime vegetables are green, and it starts to feel like folic acid overload around this soup if you add one of them. So instead, go for something with sharpness and earthiness that will help balance the soup’s creamy ethereality. This is just the place for a lentil and radish salad, which happens to be in the same book as this recipe.

4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 1/2 c. water
20 oz. frozen peas, coarsely ground in a food processor
4 c. roughly torn Boston lettuce leaves (one head)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the water, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Add the peas, lettuce, and salt to taste. Return to simmering, then reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are tender, about five minutes.

Puree the soup in the food processor in batches, then return to the pot, add the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s