A Summer Evening Soup
Sometimes, even in the heat of summer, the nights can be a bit cool. Here’s a soup I recently served at an outdoor party on one of those after-the-rain cool evenings. The combination of peas and mint makes a refreshing summer soup and it can be served chilled or warmed. To make your guests feel extra special, place a folded “pashmina” shawl on each ladies’ chair to use if they start to feel chilly. The shawls can be color coordinated with your place settings for some extra pizazz and a touch of class!
2 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large russet (baking) potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
4 cups water (or chicken - or vegetable – stock)
2 (1 pound) packages of frozen peas
2/3 cup fresh mint (spearmint) leaves – thinly sliced/chiffonade
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sour cream or crème fraiche, for serving
Sauté the shallots in olive oil over low heat until translucent and softened. Add the potato cubes and cook, while continuously stirring, for another two minutes. Sautéing the potato lightly gives an extra depth of flavor.
Add the water, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the frozen peas and simmer until the peas are heated through, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the mint, along with salt and pepper to taste. A water-based soup might need a bit more seasoning than a stock-based soup.
Purée the soup in small batches in a blender. Be very careful when blending hot soups, as the lid might loosen and pop off because of the heat. It’s best to hold a dish towel on top of the blender, and purée a little soup at a time - on low speed. Reheat the soup before serving.
Serve the soup with a little sour cream or crème fraiche drizzled on top.
Dozens of colors of inexpensive shawls are available online at Amazon.com.