We're fully launched into Spring here in the San Francisco area. Everything is in bloom and huge wafts of floral scents sweep into the house on beams of sunshine when a window or door is opened. But this week we left all that burgeoning beauty to head for a different kind of beauty - the last snow in the mountains. It's gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but I miss being in the midst of Spring. So I made this soup today to try to recapture a bit of it. I've made this soup with bibb lettuce as well as romaine and it works great either way. It's even a great way to use up any spinach you might have left over from spinach week or swiss chard. I added lemon zest with the peas and mint witha little squeeze of lemon to brighten up the lettuce, and added creme fraiche and freshly grated nutmeg at the end. In the summer on a hot day, I serve this chilled for a refreshing start to a meal but today looking out at the freshly fallen snow, I served it nice and warm. Note: Greek yogurt could easily be substituted for the creme fraiche. —TheWimpyVegetarian
romaine lettuce, or a mix of lettuces
frozen or fresh green peas
green onions or spring onions, white and green parts
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Wash the lettuces and tear into large pieces. (If using swiss chard, discard the stalks.) Blanch the lettuce in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook another 5 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. (Note: if working with tender young spring lettuces, blanch only for 2-3 minutes before adding the peas.)
In a large pot, melt the butter and oil together. Saute the onions and mint until the onions start to soften. Add the lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Continue to saute until the onions are very soft.
Sprinkle the flour over the onion - mint mixture and whisk to mix the flour in. Cook for 3-4 minutes to cook the flour. Gradually whisk in 1/4 of the water or broth until smoooth; then add the rest while whisking over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Chop the blanched lettuce - pea mixture and add to the soup base. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to mingle flavors.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Reheat, add the creme fraiche (or yogurt, if you're using that instead) and adjust for seasoning. At the end add freshly grated nutmeg.
Serve warm or chill the soup and serve it cold. And dream of Spring.