‘Tis the season for peas, and unlike redcurrants and blackcurrants they are very easy to deal with if you get them unprepared in a large bag. Instead of needing scissors and time to carefully top and tail each currant, you need a couple of large bowls and a thumb. Squeeze the pod until it pops, tear it open down the seam, and then just run your thumb behind all the peas in the pod, flicking them into the bowl as you go. Discard the empty pod and repeat. It’s very therapeutic and as you pick up speed you can easily pod a pound of peas in under 10 minutes. Small price to pay for perfectly fresh, sweet peas. And while those frozen bags of peas proudly state that they are just as sweet as fresh peas, because they went from field to freezer in under two hours, I remain unconvinced. There’s something just nice about having real peas. Seeing where they come from even. And then hearing them squeal as you blend them up into soup.
Pea, watercress and rocket soup
600g fresh peas, removed from pods (about 250g in all)
1 teaspoon chopped mint
500ml water or stock
100g mixed watercress and rocket, roughly torn
2 tablespoons parmesan
1. In a large saucepan bring the peas, mint and stock to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until just soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. Once cool add the watercress, rocket and parmesan and using an immersion blender blend the soup until almost smooth and creamy, or leave it slightly textured, so you get little bites of spicy rocket and pops of pea skin. Season well and return the soup to the hob to rewarm, or serve cold.
3. Serve with more parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and some cheese toasties.