This is my riff on a French classic, minus the cream. Sweet peas and mint naturally complement each other with their delightfully delicate, fresh flavours. I amplify the pea's taste and nutritional content by adding pea shoots to the saute. As for texture, the sauteed butter lettuce counterbalances the mealiness of the peas, making for a smooth consistency.

Sweet pea and mint soup

Serves 6
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white part only, rinsed and chopped 
sea salt 
¼ teaspoon freshly ground
black pepper
300 g frozen sweet peas, defrosted, or 465 g freshly shelled peas
1 small head butter lettuce, torn into pieces
1 cup pea sprouts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint, plus more for garnish
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more if needed
6 tablespoons full-fat plain yoghurt, for garnish 
pea shoots, for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the leek, a pinch of salt and the pepper and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and the lettuce and another pinch of salt. Pour in 125 ml of the stock to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat.

Pour one-third of the remaining stock into a blender, add one-third of the vegetable mixture, one-third of the pea sprouts and the mint. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot over low heat. Divide the remaining stock in half and repeat the process two more times. Stir in the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Taste; you may want to add an additional squeeze of lemon and a couple of pinches of salt. Serve garnished with the yoghurt, pea shoots and a bit of mint, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Image and recipe reproduced with kind permission from Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz (Murdoch Books RRP $35.00)