If it’s possible for a soup to evoke a dessert, then this chilled pea soup does just that. I blame the crème fraiche and lemon. When paired together they are sublime, one degree of sweet separation from the makings of an ethereal dessert. The sugar in the peas completes this imagery, and while this soup is decidedly savory with the sharp and licorice notes of radish and tarragon, one can’t help but feel just a little naughty with each billowy spoonful of luscious soup.
Chilled Pea Soup with Crème Fraîche, Lemon and Tarragon
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups shelled English peas
1 cup chicken stock (or water)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup crème fraîche (or plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent without coloring, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peas and sauté until bright and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and pepper and simmer until the peas are very tender, about 4 minutes.
2. Carefully transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Add the 1 cup water, ¼ cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. The soup should be a little thick and not too runny. Transfer to a bowl to cool and taste for seasoning.
3. Whisk the crème fraîche and lemon zest in a small bowl.
4. Divide the soup between serving bowls or small cups. Add a spoonful of the cream to the soup and gently swirl, leaving light traces of the cream visible. Garnish with snipped tarragon leaves and sliced radishes.