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Spring Pea Soup Shooters

When I tell friends that I rarely make a recipe more than once, I’m not kidding.  The last time I made this delightful taste of spring was in 2008. I thought it was time to make it again.

At a party, it’s fun served cold in shot glasses with a little crème fraîche floating on top. It will definitely serve a crowd as this recipe make about 2 quarts. The amounts could easily be cut in half which would serve 8 about 1/2 cup servings for a first course.

2 medium leeks
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, divided
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
3 cups shelled fresh peas or 1 (16-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon basil pesto (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
½ cup crème fraîche, plus more for serving (optional)

Trim off the leek roots and the dark green leaves as they go up the stem. Halve each lengthwise, thinly slice (white and light green part only) and submerge them in a bowl of cold water. Agitate the pieces; then allow any sand to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Carefully lift out the leek slices and place in a colander to drain leaving the sand in the bowl of water.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the leeks, onion, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the stock, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and additional pepper to your liking and bring to a boil. Add the peas and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the mint leaves, and stir to combine. Let sit uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth. To achieve this without making a mess, remove the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and cover the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off).

Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan (if serving warm) or a heatproof bowl. Stir in the crème fraîche. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as desired. If serving warm, reheat over low heat.

If serving cold, let cool to room temperature, cover, then refrigerate until cold. Top each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche, if your so inclined.