By Angela Denstad Stigeler
If you take it down to its elements, spring is a collective of greens: the anticipation of the first unfurled leaf, the sudden delight of bright-hued shoots of tulip and daffodil breaking through dark ground, the mossy haze of a reviving lawn. Soon, we’ll also have all those spring greens that invigorate a salad bowl along with fresh herbs, asparagus and tender new peas.
In the meantime, fresh frozen peas and the most steadfast of herbal companions, parsley, pair up in this rush-of-the-season soup, served just warm enough to ward off a bit of spring cold. In fact, using parsley beyond just garnish provides incredible health benefits, from antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents to heart-friendly folates and immune-boosting vitamins. Parsley is a powerhouse of nourishment, as well as a burst of springtime flavor and a perfect partner for this fresh pea puree. It couldn’t be simpler to blend together these few ingredients, parsing peas and parsley into a lush and verdant meal.
Fresh Pea and Parsley Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1-2 cups water
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for garnish
1 large lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the coarse salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5-10 minutes. Add the stock, peas, parsley, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and let simmer just until the peas are cooked through and the parsley is tender and bright green.
Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of the lemon and set aside. Off the heat, add the sour cream to the soup and puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or in batches in a standing blender, until the soup is very smooth. Add the juice from the lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm, garnishing each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkle of lemon zest.