The first time I made this dish, it was our first Easter with Jackson. He was just shy of two months old and my mom was visiting over the Easter holiday. I inherited my love of cooking and entertaining from my mom. When she does it, she goes all out. Even though I was an exhausted new mom, with her help we executed the loveliest Easter meal.
I’ve been thinking about this dish since then and thought it would be good to share since it is a little different than your typical ham and scalloped potatoes holiday meal. This would be perfect as a plated first course or served in a soup tureen on your Easter buffet. Since I made this last night, we ate it for dinner with warm grilled cheese.
The soup is so simple to make and it is the breadcrumb topping that really makes it special. I used leftover ciabatta for my breadcrumbs and I think any bread you have on hand will do. Panko crumbs would work well, but I probably wouldn’t use basic store-brought breadcrumbs. It was really easy to process them in my magic bullet (you could use a food processor).
The soup is silky smooth and contrasts well with the crunch from the topping. The parsley and mint add an unexpected brightness. This is not the heavy pea soup that I have had in the past!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2lbs fresh or frozen peas, shelled
- 4 cups chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3-4 slices of bacon
- 2 slice of white sandwich bread (or any bread you have on hand), processed into fine crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, but not browned.
- Add the peas, broth and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the peas are tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Using a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy on both sides and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Pour out the bacon fat, but reserve 1 tablespoon and leave it in the pan. On medium heat, add the breadcrumbs to the bacon fat and toast until crispy and browned. Stir frequently for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Finely chop the cooked bacon and add it to the breadcrumbs along with the mint, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the warm soup into bowls and garnish with the breadcrumb topping.
This soup can be made in advance. Keep the breadcrumb topping separate and warm it in a non-stick pan to toast it slightly before serving.
Adapted from: Williams Sonoma
What is on your Easter menu this year?