A fresh take on pea soup

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

By J.M. Hirsch
Associated Press
The inspiration for this rich, creamy pea soup came from an unlikely source — lime marshmallows.
While attending the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami, I had a chance to eat lunch at Food Network Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant, Tudor House Miami. I was really impressed by so many of the menu items, including the steak tartare, chicken and biscuit sandwiches, fried calamari, as well as his popcorn milkshake.
But I was completely won over by his simple pea soup studded with lime marshmallows. It was such an unusual combination that worked so well. And, frankly, it made a lot of sense. Peas pair so well with an acidic tang. It’s why they so often get a splash of lemon juice or a sprinkle of lemon zest. So why not lime?
I considered his soup during my flight home and wondered how to recreate it. While I love making marshmallows from scratch for special occasions, I’m not likely to whip up a batch for a simple weeknight soup. So I decided to skip the marshmallows and work the lime juice right into the soup. Turned out great.
This soup — which is inspired by, not a recreation of Zakarian’s — is incredibly flexible. I like the extra layer of flavor you get by roasting the onions and garlic. But if you’d like to keep it simple, by all means dump everything in a pot and simmer until the onions and garlic are tender, then puree.
And there’s nothing stopping you from topping this with purchased mini marshmallows.
Creamy Pea Soup with Roasted Garlic and Lime
Start to finish: 45 minutes (10 minutes active)
Servings: 8
3 large yellow onions, chopped
2 heads garlic
Olive oil
1 pound frozen peas
1 quart chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper slices
8-ounce container creme fraiche
3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. lime juice
Salt and ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Arrange the chopped onions in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Carefully cut off the top of each head of garlic. You should cut deep enough to reveal the tops of the cloves inside. Set each head on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spritz the onions with cooking spray. Roast for 30 minutes.
After about 20 minutes of roasting, in a large saucepan over medium-high, combine the peas, broth and jalapenos. Bring to a simmer.
Place the onions in a blender. One at a time, carefully hold each head of garlic (they will be hot) over the blender and squeeze. The softened cloves should easily pop out of their skins and into the blender. Ladle the pea and broth mixture into the blender, then puree until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan over low heat.
Stir the creme fraiche, cilantro and lime juice into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 190 calories; 100 calories from fat (52 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber; 470 mg sodium.