Finally, it feels like summer out here! The weather over the last couple of weeks has been sheer bliss - warm and sunny, clear skies ... can't help but walk around with a smile :)
So, what else is awesome right now? The bounty that is coming from my veggie patch! Everyday yields a handful of tomatoes, a slew of greens, some squashes, maybe some chard, a motley assortment of herbs, all goodness! And today, as I was puttering around the patch, fighting those damn slugs, Alice Waters came to mind. Funny how I often think of some of my favourite chefs when I'm down and dirty in the veggie patch :)
So, with Alice on my mind, I ended up grabbing a slew of pea vines - I've eaten these in salads at several restaurants, but never cooked them up, so today was going to be a first - *so* exciting! Vodka didn't quite share the excitement - I couldn't quite get him to nosh on a few leaves. He cocked his head with the "You're crazy!" look and ran off to get his ball :)
Chez Panisse Vegetables has a killer recipe for a Pea and Pea Shoot Soup - except I didn't have enough peas to make this :) So, I went with fava beans instead (sadly, frozen, but they tasted pretty good!) and decided to let the soup stay thick and smooth instead of straining it.
[I feel like I'm tainted for life - as much as I absolutely *love* fava beans, I can't think of them without remembering Hannibal Lecter's quote from Silence of the Lambs! *grrrrr* ... and no! I refuse to quote it here :) ]
1/2 large red onion
3 cups shelled fava beans
2 handfuls pea shoots
10-12 leaves of spanish mint
4 cups of water (or 2 cups stock + 2 cups water)
1 t olive oil
1 t ghee (clarified butter)
salt for seasoning
freshly ground pepper
grated aged cheddar for garnish
Peel and thinly slice the onion. Heat the olive oil in a pot and saute the onions till translucent.
Add the mint and saute for another minute.
Throw in the fava beans along with 2 cups of water/stock and cook partially covered, on medium, for 6-8 minutes till the beans are cooked.
Set aside a few pea shoots for garnish and toss the rest into the soup. Cook for a few more minutes till the pea shoots are wilted before taking the pot off the heat.
Once the contents have cooled a bit, puree the soup to a relatively smooth consistency - the pea vines may still remain stringy/chopped up, that's totally fine - it actually adds a neat texture to the soup.
Season with salt and a slew of freshly ground pepper!
Heat the ghee in a pan and lightly saute the leftover pea shoots till wilted.
Ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with the crispy pea shoots and some grated aged cheddar cheese.
We wolfed up this soup with some toasted whole wheat pita bread - an earthy and chewy complement to the fresh, smooth soup. The fava beans lent a creamy, nutty flavour to the soup. And the pea vines made it taste really fresh - all that green goodness!
Ok, so this *has* to go to the current edition of Weekend Herb Blogging (Kalyn's brainchild) - hosted this week by Zorra from Kochtopf - thanks to both of you for starting/hosting this event!