English Pea Soup with Minted Ricotta and Morels
By Chef Holly Smith

Ingredients 

6 cups English Peas (the best quality frozen peas can be substituted - thaw first) 
4 ounces Chicken Stock 
5 ounces Crème Fraîche or Sour Cream may be substituted 
1 tablespoon Butter Kosher Salt or Cayenne Pepper to taste 
1/4 cup English Peas 
4 Morel Mushrooms (Dried Mushrooms can be substituted reconstituted by soaking and sauté separately in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and keep warm while soup finishes) 
6 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta (mix with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 6 leaves of mint and finely chopped) 

Directions 

Shell peas. Bring salted water to a boil – have a large ice water bath ready to shock the peas. 

Blanch peas for 45 seconds to 1½ minutes, depending on the peas. 

They should be tender but not mushy. 

Plunge into ice water bath to shock and swirl around to cool as quickly as possible. 

This will prevent overcooking and lock in the bright green color. 

Process the peas with enough water to get them going (2 ounces to start) in a Cuisinart or blender. 

Strain through as fine a sieve as possible without losing all of the body from the peas. 

You are trying to yield 12 oz. or more of pea purée. 

If your peas yield less, blanch more until at least 12 oz. of finished purée is achieved. 

Combine pea purée, chicken stock, crème fraiche and 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and warm gently. 

Heat up to just below a simmer and reduce heat. 

Taste and add cayenne and Kosher salt to your liking. 

Avoid letting the soup boil, as the pea purée may get grainy. 

Serve the soup in warm bowls with a dollop of ricotta mixture and garnish with morels. 

Sprinkle some fine, fruity extra virgin olive oil over this soup to take it up a notch.