One of my fondest memories was watching my mother wander through our huge backyard vegetable garden on warm summer mornings. Dressed in her housecoat, she walked the rows, coffee in one hand and the other hand free to sample whatever was ripe. Her favorite was picking snap peas and munching on them while she decided what to harvest for dinner that night. It brought her such pleasure to taste them fresh from the garden.
Now it is my turn to stroll my substantially smaller garden with a cup of coffee, sans the housecoat, but with the same intent on planning my menus from what is ready to harvest from the garden. This week it is peas! I have some wonderful Oregon Sugar Pod peas ready to eat.
Mother used to make a lot of split pea soup with ham, and she kept the fresh peas for sautéing. Today, I prefer a fresh pea soup made with crispy prosciutto. I started using a wonderfully simple Ina Garten recipe and have since done my own twist using some of her ingredients in the base recipe. These three versions have fresh herbs, kale, and using some interesting spices and ginger as another layer of flavor. They are quick, easy and a perfect weeknight addition to your menu. I love the fresh flavors infused into the peas and the bright green color.
This soup can be served on one of those cool summer evenings with crusty bread and a crisp glass of Chardonnay! Truly it is a perfect soup anytime of the year when you can use frozen peas. Try one or all three and you decide which flavors you prefer.
I encourage you to try your own version of this recipe. Use whatever herbs, spices or greens that appeal to you or that you have available. The toppings can also be of your own choosing, be creative!
Pea Mint Soup
Pea Kale Soup
Pea Basil Soup
Growing your own peas can be easy and fun! Because they grow vertically you can add them into your garden even if you only have a small space. Sowing the seeds into a large container with some type of support system like a trellis or a simple teepee with bamboo stakes can be a simple method for growing your own food. Peas are a wonderful way to introduce your kids to food gardening. My great nieces and nephews love to help sow the seeds, water (especially watering!) and the harvesting. They all have their own gloves, trowel and wheelbarrow and love to see the process of growing something from a small seed to a beautiful plant! Make it a family affair.