Food

Want to put those fresh spring peas to use? This simple soup is the most elegant option out there

Garnished with Dungeness crab and crispy potatoes, this dish from Vancouver’s Botanist is entertaining-worthy — if you can bear to share it.

Garnished with Dungeness crab and crispy potatoes, this dish from Vancouver’s Botanist is entertaining-worthy

(Photography by Kevin Clark)

While we’ve always regarded pea soup as a trusty comfort food, it’s never been the most, well, aesthetically pleasing of dishes. That might be why our jaws genuinely dropped upon spotting this version from the Vancouver restaurant Botanist in Joanne Sasvari’s cookbook Vancouver Eats: Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants. Made with fresh, seasonal spring peas instead of the traditional split, the soup is then topped with Dungeness crab and crispy potatoes for added elegance and oomph. It comes together quite simply as well, meaning you can whip it up on a lazy Sunday or throw it on the menu for your next dinner party — if you can bear to share it.

Spring Pea Soup with Dungeness Crab

Intro by Joanne Sasvari | Recipe by Hector Laguna

Chef Hector Laguna’s delicately minted pea soup with its tender crab garnish is a perfectly delectable taste of spring.

Ingredients

Spring Pea Soup:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 ½ cups fresh peas
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • ¾ cup fresh Dungeness crabmeat, picked of shells or cartilage
  • 4 tsp crème fraîche (or 4 tsp sour cream), for garnish

Potato Nests:

  • 1 medium potato
  • 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Preparation

Spring Pea Soup:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Pour in stock and bring to a boil, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Remove and press out excess water.

Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add peas and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of ice water.

Combine stock, spinach and 2 cups of the peas in a blender. Purée for 3 minutes, until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, then season with salt and lemon juice.

Potato Nests:

Peel the potato, then shred it using a mandoline set to the finest teeth.

Soak the shredded potato in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

In a small pot, heat oil over medium-high to about 350°F. Form the potato into 4 “nests” and carefully drop them in the oil. Shallow fry for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Assembly:

In a small bowl, combine crab and remaining 1/2 cup peas. Season with salt and lemon juice. Split mixture between 4 soup bowls. Ladle soup into each bowl, garnish each with a teaspoon of crème fraîche, a couple of mint leaves and a potato nest. Serve immediately.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


Excerpted from Vancouver Eats: Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants by Joanne Sasvari. Copyright © 2018 Joanne Sasvari. Recipes copyright © 2018 by individual restaurants. Published by Figure 1 Publishing Inc. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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