This is a light, creamy soup that has everything going for it — a tempting color, velvety smooth texture, and a wonderful fresh flavor. It’s always a harbinger of warmer weather and the opening of farmers’ markets all across the country.
Peas and bacon are a popular combination in England and in America, as the sweetness of the former plays well off the smokiness of the latter. I prefer to use Ventrech bacon from Alsace, but another lightly smoked, dry-cured bacon is fine.—Gordon Ramsay
4 ounces lightly smoked sliced bacon
2 shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh peas in pods, shelled
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 cups Vegetable Nage or light chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus a little extra for serving
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Reserve 4 slices of bacon and chop the rest. Place the chopped bacon in a saucepan with the shallots and oil. Heat until sizzling, then sweat over a low heat for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the peas and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
3. Stir in the nage or stock and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl, rubbing with the back of a ladle. Leave to cool and then refrigerate.
4. Meanwhile, broil the reserved bacon slices until crisp. (In the restaurant we bake the slices between two heavy baking sheets to keep them straight and flat, but you may prefer the crinkly look.) Drain well on a paper towel so they aren’t greasy. Keep warm.
5 When the soup is well chilled, check the seasoning and whisk in the cream. Season again. Serve in bowls with a little extra cream trickled on top and a floating bacon slice.
Recipe © 2000 Gordon Ramsay. All rights reserved.