Let­tuce soup with pea and soft herbs

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

A stel­lar early sum­mer soup, as good hot as it is cold. You can, of course, use frozen peas, too: just cook them for a few min­utes less.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, cel­ery and gar­lic and a good pinch of salt, and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til soft and sweet: this should take about five to seven min­utes.

Next, add the stock; taste and add salt if needed, then bring to a sim­mer and cook for five min­utes.

Add the peas and cook un­til soft and sweet – about five min­utes – be­fore adding the let­tuce. Push the let­tuce un­der the liq­uid as much as you can, cover and sim­mer for an­other two min­utes, giv­ing the let­tuce time to wilt, then turn off the heat and add the herbs.

Use a hand blender or a jug blender to whizz the soup un­til it’s as smooth as you like it, thin­ning with a lit­tle more hot stock, if you like. Taste and add more salt and pep­per – or even a squeeze of lemon if you think it needs some sharp­ness.

Ei­ther re­turn the soup to the pan to keep warm, or let it cool, then chill for a few hours un­til it’s cold. If serv­ing chilled, check the sea­son­ing again be­fore serv­ing, be­cause it may need more salt.

I like to serve mine topped with a swirl of yo­ghurt, a few drops of olive oil, a few more fresh peas, sliced radishes and a tan­gle of pea shoots.

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