In the Netherlands, pea soup is a hearty winter soup made from dried peas and ham hock. Silva Rigobello reminded me that you can also make a lighter pea soup from fresh peas, perfect for spring. In this case, I paired the peas with fresh mint from my garden and with crispy ‘Speck’. Speck is the word from Tirol for cured and smoked ham. You could also use Schwarwalder Schinken or any other type of smoked cured ham. Such a smooth soup is called velouté because it is as smooth as velvet. The smooth sweet earthy pea soup works very well with the crispy salty smoky speck and the fresh mint. It is pretty easy to make and only takes about half an hour altogether. The recipe includes a simple way to make crispy speck or prosciutto. Here’s what I did…
300 grams (2 cups) peas (fresh or frozen)
60 grams (2 oz) Speck, or other cured and smoked ham
1 small leek, white part only, halved and sliced
80 ml (1/3 cup) cream
10 grams (a handful) of mint leaves, plus more for garnish
salt, sugar, and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Garnish the velouté with the crispy speck and additional mint, and serve at once. I kept the slices of speck whole as it would be prettier for the photo, but it is easier to eat when you break it up into small pieces.
Torta Mimosa is made of sponge cake and pastry cream only, but the effect is quite stunning and it tastes great as well. It looks like mimosa blossoms, hence the name.