Spring Pea Soup

Craig Thomas, chef at The Red Tavern restaurant in Chico, was voted by Edible Shasta-Butte readers a Local Hero in the chef/restaurant category. He offers this recipe, which is featured this spring at the Red Tavern, 1250 The Esplanade in Chico. The restaurant is open Monday thru Saturday at 5:30. Call 530.894.3463 and visit redtavern.com.

Serves 4

Pea ‘Stock’

  • 2 pounds fresh peas, shucked and blanched, reserve shells
  • 1 onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 whole carrot
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 ounces bacon
  • 8 cups water

To make the stock add the pea shells, onions, celery, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns, bacon and water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours. Strain and reserve.

Sauté

  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, sliced into small cubes Freshly shelled peas (from above)
  • 1 bunch mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large handful pea tendrils

Add the oil to a hot pan, and sauté the shallots, Prosciutto and peas for about 2 minutes. Add the mint. Combine this with the strained stock and purée it in batches adding a little butter to each batch. Purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of crème fraîche and sautéed pea tendrils.

Crème Fraîche

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Combine both in a glass jar. Cover with tea towel and let stand at room temperature 16–24 hours until thick. Cover and refrigerate. Use within 10 days.