English Pea Soup with Lemon Creme Fraiche
Serves: makes 2 regular servings, or 4 small servings -- recipe can easily be doubled or tripled
Adapted from Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook
  • 3½ lbs fresh peas, shelled (or 3 ½ cups frozen peas)
  • 3 quarts water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup water, plus more as needed
  • 4 oz. creme fraiche
  • Zest of one lemon, plus 1 TBSP juice
  • drizzle of good quality olive oil, optional
  • Pea shoots for garnish, optional
  1. Bring water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add half of the peas, and boil for 6-8 minutes for fresh, or 4-5 minutes for frozen, or until tender.
  2. Fill a large bowl with water and ice, and have it standing by when the peas are done cooking. Remove the peas from the pot with a skimmer or slotted spoon, and place them directly into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking, and help preserve their bright color. Return the water to a boil and repeat with the rest of the peas.
  3. Drain the cooked peas from the ice water, and add them to a blender or food processor. Add ½ cup fresh water, and puree until completely smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add more water as needed.
  4. Pass the puree through a tamis or fine mesh sieve. (This step is optional, especially if you have a really powerful blender, but I prefer the consistency of the soup once it's been sieved). Use a scraper or rubber spatula to press all the liquid through.
  5. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If the consistency is too thick, add more water to thin as needed. Optionally, stir in a TBSP or so of good quality olive oil, to enhance the velvety texture of the soup and add flavor.
  6. Soup can be warmed on the stove, or chilled in the fridge before serving. I like it both ways depending on my mood, so try it hot and cold and see which you prefer.
  7. When you're ready to serve, whisk together the creme fraiche, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve alongside the soup, or drizzle it over to garnish (you can thin the creme fraiche with a bit more lemon juice, or water, to create a drizzleable consistency). Serve as is, or garnish with fresh pea sprouts.
English peas, or garden peas, are great when they are in season and at their peak (and if you happen to grow your own, this soup is the perfect way to use them). If you don't have access to fresh peas, though, or would rather not shell them, you can easily use frozen peas instead. Since they're flash frozen at the peak of freshness, they still make for a very good soup!

In Keller's original recipe, he uses truffle oil to give a more savory quality to this soup. Personally, I'm not a big fan of truffle oil, and find that it can overpower the delicate pea flavor very easily (no offense to Keller). Instead I chose to keep things as simple as possible with just a bit of olive oil, but you could easily use other oils (like toasted walnut oil, or garlic oil) to add your own flavor twist.
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at https://www.willcookforfriends.com/2015/06/english-pea-soup-with-lemon-creme-fraiche.html