Appetizers redefined: Chilled pea soup

Chilled Pea Soup with Crème Fraiche and Chives
Makes 6-8 servings

  • 2 Lbs. English sweet peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 Large Butter Lettuce Leaves
  • Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Chives
  • Crème fraiche or 1/2 cup of sour cream

Shell the peas, pressing your thumb against the seam of each pod to force i 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, 2-3 minutes. Drain through a large sieve, rinse under cold running water until cool, then drain well.

Tear the lettuce into small pieces. In a blender, combine the peas, lettuce pieces, buttermilk and 11/2 teaspoons salt and process until completely smooth. Pour the soup into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors are blended, about 2 hours.

Using kitchen shears, snip the chives into very small pieces. Stir the creme fraiche with a fork so it is fluid. Dive the soup evenly among chilled small soup bowls. Spoon creme fraiche onto each serving, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each serving with some of the chopped chives. Serve right away.

Amy has brought us two more recipes:

Fava Bean and Ricotta Crostini with Fresh Mint
Makes 16 Crostini; 3-4 Servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds (or 1 cup shelled) Fava beans, in their pods
  • 1 Baguette
  • 1/2 Cup Whole-Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Grated Pecorino Romano cheese,
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Shell the fava beans. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to boil over high heat. Add the beans and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and then rinse under cold running water until cool. Remove the outer skin from each bean by pinching open the end opposite where the fava bean attaches to the pod. You should have about 1 cup shelled and skinned beans. Finely chop the beans and then to a bowl.

Cut the baguette into 16 slices, each 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until crisp, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Add the ricotta, pecorino, 1 tablespoon of the mint, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bowl with the fava beans. Using a fork, mash the ingredients together until well blended. Season to tast with salt and pepper.

Heap a spoonful of the mixture onto each baguette toast. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and spirnkle with the remaining mint. Arrange the toasts on a platter and serve right away.

Deviled Eggs with Watercress

  • large eggs, 6
  • watercress, 1 large bunch
  • green onion, 1, white and pale green parts minced
  • lemon zest, 1 teaspoon finely grated
  • homemade mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons

Place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add cold water to cover the eggs by at least 1 inch, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. When the water is at a full boil, immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes.

Uncover the pan and palce under cold running water until the eggs are cool. Drain the eggs, peel, and cut in half lengthwise. Using the tip of a spoon, carefully dislodge the yolks, allowing them to fall into a bowl. Set the whites aside, hollow side up. Mash the yolks with a fork until very smooth.

Discard the tough stems form the watercress and mince enough of the leaves to measure 1/4 cup. Add the minced watercress, green onions, lemon zest, and mayonnaise to the yolks and mix well with a fork. The mixture should have a smooth, creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt.

Arrange the egg whites on a serving platter. Using a small spoon, divide the egg yolk mixture among the egg whites, mounding the mixture slightly in the centers. Serve right away.

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