I”m feeling dense and leaden from overindulging on holiday bounty. This could spell trouble, as we”ve still got considerable holiday bounty ahead. Today I craved green. Something light and bright, quick and tasty. My thoughts turned to a favorite soup I used to order often at the Dale Street Cafe in Colorado Springs. That was many years ago. A quick google search shows that the restaurant is still around, although it”s changed owners since I ate there. This soup was inspired by theirs.
Sweet peas and romaine offer a lovely spring-green counterpoint to heavy holiday fare. Lettuce in soup might sound strange, but trust me, it works. The intense shamrock hue belies a delicate bouquet and subtle flavor. It tastes grassy and sweet and altogether fresh. It was the perfect choice for this, the darkest day of the year. You could add a little cream at the end for richness, if you”re so inclined. Personally, I love the lightness.
SWEET PEA ROMAINE SOUP
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped (about a cup and a quarter)
1 12-ounce bag frozen peas, thawed
1 medium head romaine lettuce, sliced into 1-inch strips
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 cups water
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute for five minutes.
Add romaine leaves. Cook, stirring regularly, until leaves are completely wilted (about five minutes).
Add peas, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes.
Puree soup in a blender or food processor.
Return soup to pot. Add water if it seems too thick. Add mint leaves and lemon juice. Stir, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with a mint leaf garnish.