Today I share with you a perfect springtime soup recipe. This beautiful and delicious pea and mint soup is easy to make and I top it with crispy Spanish ham for an extra special touch.
My mother-in-law buys kilos and kilos of fresh peas every spring. Together we shell them, and then she freezes these delicious morsels until she needs them in a recipe. She uses them throughout the year to make peas with poached eggs, peas and clams, and, of course, pea soup (crema de guisantes).
My pea and mint soup is a bit different than my mother-in-law’s recipe (hers skips the mint and she also doesn’t puree the soup). But I guarantee you it’s delicious. While frozen peas are quick and delicious to use, if you can get your hands on fresh spring peas you absolutely must take the time to use them. Depending on where you live, you can sometimes even find them already shelled.
Both versions are delicious, but the sweet taste of fresh peas is something I will never tire of. The sweetness of the fresh peas is the perfect complement to the salty cured ham in this recipe.
Pea and Mint Soup with Crispy Ham
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots (or sub 1 medium onion), chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium potato, diced
- 5 cups of peas (fresh or frozen)
- 5 cups of vegetable broth (if you are using fresh peas make sure to make a broth out of the pea pods and other veggie scraps you have around!)
- A handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 1 Tablespoon cream (optional)
- Cured ham (Iberian, Serrano, or Prosciutto)
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the chopped shallots and leeks.
- Sauté over medium heat until translucent, but not yet browned (7-10 minutes).
- Add the garlic and sauté for about another minute, until fragrant.
- Add the vegetable broth and diced potatoes and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the crispy ham strips (see below).
- Add the peas and cook for about five to ten minutes more (fresh peas will need at least the full five minutes, while frozen peas only need a couple of minutes to warm up).
- Take the soup off of the heat and add the fresh mint leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a traditional blender, or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Make sure the soup is completely smooth.
- Add a tablespoon of cream if you wish, for an even more indulgent soup.
- Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Top your pea and mint soup with crispy ham and enjoy!
- Cut the cured ham into ¼ inch strips and spread out over parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, stirring midway through.
- Alternatively, you can heat full pieces of ham in a frying pan (like you’d cook bacon) until crispy.
More delicious Spanish soup recipes!
What do you think? Is this pea and mint soup recipe something you’ll try making this spring?