Elixir of Fresh Peas Recipe | PBS Food

by Chef Deborah Madison An assemblage of fresh spring peas and an "elixir" of frothy pea soup


Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings as a first course



  • 1 bunch scallions or 2 small leeks including 2 inches of the greens, thinly sliced
  • 5 large parsley stems with leaves
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. English pod peas bright green and moist looking
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh onions or young leeks
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Truffle oil a few drops per bowl


  1. Bring 1 quart water to a boil. As it's heating, add the scallions, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add about 3 cups of pea pods as you shell them. Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain.
  2. Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the sliced onion. Cook over medium heat for about a minute, then add 1/2 cup of the stock so that the onions stew without browning. After 4 to 5 minutes, add the peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the sugar. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender. Drape a towel over the lid, and give a few short pulses to make sure it won't splatter. Then puree at high speed for 1 minute. Pour into small soup bowls and serve immediately, adding a few drops of truffle oil to each bowl.


Chef Deborah Madison notes: This pale green froth of a soup is the essence of fresh peas. Peas can travel in every flavor direction imaginable, but this soup needs nothing, although a few drops of truffle oil are intriguing. Plan to make it just before you serve it, unless you want to serve it chilled. The light, fragrant stock is made while you shuck the peas, and cooking time for the soup is about 4 minutes. This segment appears in show #2806. Recipe reprinted from Local Flavors, Broadway Books 2002 © 2002 Deborah Madison Used with permission
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