Chilled Pea Soup w/ Buttermilk Snow & Crispy Prosciutto

A friend of mine from Dallas recently came out here to take her daughter to Disneyland for (both of their) very first times.  Since I grew up in Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to have a childhood filled with numerous Disneyland visits.  It truly is the happiest place on earth when you believe that Mr. & Mrs. Mickey Mouse live an hour away from you.

chilled pea soup

I have never, however, been a huge fan of roller coasters.  Disneyland, I can handle, but Magic Mountain- no way, not to this day and never.  I'd rather jog in place for 2 hours.  And as a SoCal summer camp kid, I'd purposely avoid those trips at all costs.

pea soup mep

So...even though I would never go to Magic Mountain, I'd go to space in a heartbeat.  I know I get car sick, I know I get sea sick, but I would ABSOLUTELY endure rocket sickness.

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That's because I'm sort of a space junkie.  If I see an article, I'll read it.  A show, I'll watch it.  A meteor shower, I'll wake up for it.

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And as I sat on a friend's balcony last Saturday to stare at the supermoon, we ate this:

Recipe adapted from Eleven Madison Park The Cookbook

INGREDIENTS: (makes 6 cups)

For the buttermilk snow:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper

-Mix the buttermilk with the cayenne and pour into a 9” loaf pan. -Freeze 2 hours. -Scrape with a fork to create “snow.”

For the crispy prosciutto:

  • 3 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced (about 5 slices)

-Preheat oven to 300° F. -On a parchment-lined sheet tray, place prosciutto slices and cook until dry, about 1½ hours. -Cut or crack into very small “crumbs” and reserve.

For the prosciutto butter:

  • 2 thin slices of prosciutto
  • ¼ cup butter (1 stick)

-In a small pot over medium-low heat, add the butter and prosciutto.
-Let prosciutto render out in the butter, about 1 hour. -Strain and reserve.

For the pea soup:

  • 4 cups fresh english peas (about 4 ½ # in pods)
  • 6 scallions, greens only
  • 20 mint leaves
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, cold
  • ½ cup ice water
  • ¼ cup prosciutto butter, melted (at room temperature)

-Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.tip1
-Set up a bowl of ice water for shocking the peas.
-Working in four batches, add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, transferring to the ice water bath immediately.tip2
-After peas are finished, add the scallions and cook for about 30 seconds, transferring to ice water bath immediately.tip3
-Add the scallions are finished, add the mint leaves and cook for about 30 seconds, transferring to the ice water batch immediately.
-Drain peas, scallions and mint.
-Chop the scallions and mint into ½“ pieces.tip4
-Transfer peas, scallions, mint leaves, buttermilk, ice water and prosciutto butter to a blender.tip5
-Puree on high until smooth and then pass through a chinois or other fine mesh strainer.
-Immediately chill in refrigerator until cold.

To finish:

-Pour soup into bowl and top with buttermilk snow and crispy prosciutto.

My tips:

1.  The water should taste salty.
2.  Working in batches ensures that the peas will properly cook.  They should be at a rapid boil.  You’ll see the peas turn bright green (which is because of the salt).
3.  This stops the cooking process and retains the bright green color.
4.  Chopping the scallions and mint makes it so that blending is a quicker process (thus creating bright green soup).
5.  You may need to work in two batches depending on the size of your blender/ how powerful the motor is.  The longer this soup takes to blend, the more color it loses.

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