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Author Notes: 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
Serves 4 (as a starter)
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped roughly -- I like to use the stalks, as well (couple tablespoons fronds reserved as a garnish)
- 1/2 onion, chopped roughly
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups cooking stock (vegetable, chicken, or seafood)
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 pound frozen green peas, thawed
- 2-3 tablespoons creme fraiche (optional)
- 4-5 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.