Chilled Spring Pea Soup with Crab Salad, Creme Fraiche, and Mint

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive Prep: 5 min
Cook: 25 min
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • For the soup
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/4 cup sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 Fresno chile, sliced, seeds and stem included
  • 4 cups shelled English peas
  • 3 to 4 cups creme fraiche, cold
  • 1 small bunch mint, leaves picked
  • For the crab salad
  • 2 cups Jonah crabmeat, picked through for shells
  • 1/4 cup torn mint leaves
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 pickled Fresno chiles, minced, recipe follows
  • 8 snow peas, julienned
PICKLED CHILES:
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 3 garlic cloves
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Directions

For the soup:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt to make it taste like the ocean. Add the shallots, garlic, coriander seeds, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and sliced chiles, and bring back to a boil. Taste the water and season with salt, if needed. Add the English peas, bring the soup back to a boil and allow it to cook until the peas are al dente, about 30 to 45 seconds

Using a strainer or spider, add the pea mixture to a blender with 2 ladlefuls of flavored liquid, the creme fraiche and the mint leaves. Puree until smooth. Pour through a wired mesh strainer into a bowl over an ice bath to cool very quickly. Continue to stir until chilled. Taste for seasoning.

For the crab salad:
To a large bowl, add the crabmeat, mint leaves, salt and pepper, to taste, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, sliced scallions, lime zest, lime juice, and the chiles. Lightly toss with a fork. Do not overwork. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Ladle the soup into serving bowl. Top each bowl with a large spoonful of the salad. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and garnish with julienned snow peas.

To make the Pickled Chiles:
Pack the chiles into 2 (1-quart) jars and cover them with water to come within 1/2-inch of the rim. Pour the water out into a measuring cup. Note the volume, pour off half the water, and replace it with sherry vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons salt for every 3 cups liquid.

Pour the vinegar mixture into a nonreactive saucepan and add the bay leaves, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, marjoram, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Pour the hot liquid into the jars to cover the peppers, and screw on the lids. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Yield: about 2 quarts

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5

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  • on August 06, 2011

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    Outstanding and very easy. I boiled the peas minus a cup of water and plus a cup of Chicken Stock to give a richer flavor. Stunning soup!

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