Monday, February 7, 2011

Creamy Green Pea Soup with Dill

"There is nothing so innocent, so confiding in its expression, as the small green face of the freshly shelled spring pea." —William Wallace Irwin, Garrulous Gourmet

The author of the above quote was a man after my own heart. How do I love peas? Let me count the ways.

1) darling little spherical shape
2) cheerful, bright green color
3) cute and sustainable natural packaging (they nestle together in tidy rows like vegetable pearls, snugly tucked into tenderly crisp pods)
4) vines have adorable curly tendrils
5) plant is both delicate and strong: tenaciously clings and boldly climbs
6) softly patterned leaves of graceful round shape are very pretty
7) great raw texture: fresh, firm and crunchy
8) great cooked texture: soft and firmly squishy
9) delicious! (Yes best of all, I love how peas taste! So sweet!)

Sadly, not everyone has experienced the pleasure of eating fresh shell peas. The fairly recent invention of the scrumptious, edible pod Sugar Snap pea has led to a decline in the availability of English (shell) peas, which is a shame since scraping peas off the pod with your teeth and munching down on the resulting mouthful of roly-poly sugary greenness is one of the all time great summertime joys.

Did someone say summer? Sigh. Writing from the dead of winter could be why I've recently found myself craving the bright, fresh lively taste of peas. So when I saw a recipe for fresh pea soup on the delightful raw food blog Raw on $10 a Day or Less, I was inspired.

My version of this Practically Raw soup uses fresh dill, a kiss of lemon juice and frozen, thawed organic baby peas. Frozen peas, like most if not all frozen vegetables, are blanched in boiling water prior to being flash frozen. Blanching yields a "practically raw" pea that is neither cooked nor raw. You can read more about how peas are frozen here.

Dillis a nutritious and medicinal culinary herb whose fresh pungent flavor superbly complements the sweetness of green peas. Flavorful, alkalinizing green herbs are our natural healers, so I always have at least one bunch in my refrigerator at all times, alternating between dill, cilantro and parsley. Creamy avocado lends a rich, velvety smoothness to this quick-to-prepare potage.

Creamy Green Pea Soup with Dill

2 cups baby peas
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 small avocado
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill leaves, and their stems, also chopped
1 or 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon's worth)
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
a few grinds of black pepper

If using frozen peas, allow to thaw completely at room temperature; then drain in a colander or strainer. Set aside 1/2 cup of peas and about 2 Tablespoons of chopped dill leaves. Add everything else to blender and blend until creamy smooth. Use hotter water for a warmer soup. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Divide soup into two bowls and top with reserved peas and chopped dill. (Note: Soup may be gently heated further on stovetop to desired temperature before serving; I like it just medium warm, as it comes out of the blender.)

1 comment:

eat2evolve said...

Some friends on facebook have pointed out that dill makes you sleepy. This was news to me! Sure enough, since ancient times, dill has enjoyed a fine reputation as a soporific.

CopperWiki says: "Dill is a calming and sedative food. The Greeks put dill leaves under their caps or covered their heads with leaves to induce sleep. Hindu Physicians in Ancient India advised keeping a few sprigs of the herb next to the pillow to counter insomnia. In fact, the Hindi name for dill is “sooya” meaning “slept”." The Norse or Anglo-Saxon word ‘dylle’ or "dilla" is commonly presumed to be the origin of the modern English word dill. These words mean "to soothe or lull"."

Morer recently, the chemical compound "carvone," found in dill and caraway, has been studied for its effect on the central nervous system as a sedative.