The lesson of this recipe, according to cookbook author Julia Turshen, is learning to embrace water as an ingredient. “When you use it as your cooking medium,” she says, “the flavors of whatever you’re cooking in it come through in a way that’s so totally honest and straightforward. There’s no hiding behind chicken stock.” The leek greens and herb stems are simmered in water to create an aromatic infusion, which is used as the base of this vibrant green spring pea soup. It’s equally delicious served warm or chilled.
What You Will Need
- Large Pot
- Fine-Mesh Strainer
- Large, Heat-Resistant Bowl
- Immersion Blender or Standard Blender
Time : 2 Hours
- Coarsely chop the dark-green leek tops, root ends, and tough outer layers, and transfer them to a large pot. Coarsely chop the white and pale-green parts, and set aside. Add the reserved the parsley, mint, and basil stems to the pot, along with the salt and 6 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a strong simmer. Cook until the greens are softened and the stock is flavorful, about 30 minutes.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large, heat-resistant bowl. Strain the stock and discard the solids.
- Rinse out the pot and wipe it dry. Return to medium heat, and when the pot is hot, add the butter. When it has melted and the foam begins to subside, add the reserved leek parts and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the leeks are softened and translucent but not yet beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas, then slowly pour in the stock, being mindful to leave any grit at the bottom of the bowl (leek tops tend to hold on to some dirt). Turn off the heat and let the soup cool to room temperature (the residual heat will finish cooking the peas).
- Add the parsley, mint, and basil leaves to the pot. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standard blender, purée the soup until smooth. Season with more salt to taste.
- To serve warm, reheat the soup gently over medium heat. To serve cold, refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight (season again before serving as cold temperatures tend to mute flavors). Whether you are serving the soup warm or cold, top each bowl with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche and a sprinkle of chives.