Chilled Fresh Pea and Fava Bean Soup with Rose Petal Cream

The secrets of this very simple soup and its big impact are: use very fresh, first-crop tender young peas and fava beans; cook them in the moisture of the lettuce; cook quickly; and then chill the puree immediately in a bowl already sitting in an ice bath. This instant chilling holds the fresh flavor and color of the peas and beans.

Do not make this soup more than four hours in advance or the fresh flavors will be compromised.

Ingredients

  • 1 Bibb lettuce, cored,leaves separated
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh garden peas ( pounds of pods)
  • 1 cup fresh fava beans, podded and peeled twice
  • 2 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 1 sprig winter savory
  • 4 sprigs fresh chervil
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Saltand freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 large deep pink roses, petals only

Method

Put the lettuce and onion in a stainless-steel heavy-bottomed pot that has a cover. Add a pinch of salt and ½ cup water, then cover and “sweat” over very low heat until the lettuce and onion are just tender (5 minutes).

Prepare an ice bath and put a metal bowl in it.

Add the peas, fava beans, herbs, and 3 cups of boiling water to the pot, and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender. Immediately pour the cooked vegetable mixture into the bowl in the ice bath. Stir until cold, and then puree. Season, strain, and keep cold over the ice bath.

Put three-quarters of the rose petals in a food processor and puree until fairly smooth. Add the cream and a pinch of salt, and process for a few seconds until the cream has some body. Cut the rest of the petals into fine strips.

Serve the soup in chilled open bowls with a dollop of the rose cream in the center. Scatter the “chiffonade” of petals over the soup.

Variation

If you balk at roses, make one puree of ½ cup cooked fresh corn, and one of ½ cup chopped tomatoes cooked for 2 minutes. Whisk heavy cream into both until each puree has enough body to stay on top of the soup. Then you have three colors, light green, yellow, and red, and three flavors that all complement each other.

,