Chilled soups are among my favorite summer lunch and appetizer dishes. More unusual than a salad and surprisingly refreshing, they’re also typically a cinch to prepare, with little or no cooking required. What could be better for our already magnificent summer produce?
Traditional gazpacho is a go-to for me, but I’m expanding my sights with this Cold Pea Soup with Creme Fraiche and Chives. Simple boiling and a whirl through a blender are all that’s necessary to pull the recipe together — and it requires only five ingredients (plus salt).
Cold Pea Soup with Crème Fraîche and Chives
2 lb. English peas in their pods
5 large butter lettuce leaves
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 bunch fresh chives
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
Shell the peas, pressing your thumb against the seam of each pod to force it open. You should have 2 cups shelled peas. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and boil until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain through a large sieve, rinse under cold running water until cool and then drain well.
Tear the lettuce into small pieces. In a blender, combine the peas, lettuce, buttermilk and salt and process until completely smooth. Pour the soup into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled and the flavors are blended, about 2 hours.
Using kitchen shears, snip the chives into very small pieces. Stir the crème fraîche with a fork so it is fluid. Divide the soup evenly among chilled small soup bowls. Spoon the crème fraîche onto each serving, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each serving with some of the chives and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.