This is my springtime version of split-pea soup -- much easier and quicker to make and with all the fresh goodness of spring vegetables. I like mine slightly chunky, like a smoother gazpacho, so you can feel the slight crunch of the fennel. Feel free to add a couple spoonfuls of creme fraiche or sour cream before blending for added richness (I will admit I've also used Wee Brie in a pinch!). This soup can also be made ahead of time; I've found it doesn't really separate and can be served cold after a quick stir, making for a refreshing brunch/lunch dish! —ktchnninja
4 (as a starter)
extra-virgin olive oil
bulb fennel, chopped roughly -- I like to use the stalks, as well (couple tablespoons fronds reserved as a garnish)
onion, chopped roughly
cooking stock (vegetable, chicken, or seafood)
fresh cracked black pepper
frozen green peas, thawed
creme fraiche (optional)
slices Blackforest ham (or comparable amount of other ham off the bone)
In a stock pot, heat a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the chopped fennel and onion, along with a couple generous pinches of Kosher salt. Stir occasionally and cook until vegetables are slightly soft.
Add your preferred stock to the pot, along with the dried herbs and a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper. Turn up the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Once liquid reaches a boil, turn the stove off and remove the pot from the heat.
With the pot off the heat, add the thawed peas. Mix in well, and ladle about half the contents of the pot into a blender.
If desired, add a tablespoon or so of creme fraiche or sour cream. Blend until smooth. Divide the soup into individual bowls and blend the remaining half with some more creme fraiche if using.
Serve with some ham sliced into thin strips (or small cubes if using ham off the bone), along with a sprinkle of the reserved fennel fronds.