Sweet Little Pea

Our current house doesn’t have anywhere near the vintage character our last home in Downtown St. John’s had. The back and front yards are bare as bare can be. We have no trees, just grass, giant weeds, and dandelions. What the yard was like when we moved in is too shameful to talk about. The last two years we had been busy growing the Little Girl instead. Growing a few herbs on the patio cannot compete. All said, I have been missing a garden – my garden.

Our first house came with a small asymmetrical backyard (about 24 x 56) backing into the most gorgeous mess of a green space in Downtown St. John’s.  It was awkward and small, but I was sold on the huge trees at the back of the house that had turned a vibrant gold that Fall season.  It had a cozy tucked-in feeling amidst a crazy busy city life.

We lived in the three-story semi-detached until I was about eight months pregnant and then we moved. The six years we spent there were the most memorable – we got married there, in the front room by the fireplace. We only had a thin strip of backyard land that I slaved over for six summers, eventually turning it into a beautiful garden of my dreams. We spent endless hours there, quietly reading or entertaining a crowd on a BBQ night.  Of all the lovely things I miss about my ex-garden, I most miss the fresh herbs, my favorite lavender, and sweet ripe home-grown strawberries the most. The thought of the raspberries that grew in plenty in the back wilderness often makes me want to run right back to it. That was then.

So this past weekend – while the sun rays came down upon Newfoundland like a fierce army, heating every corner of the island – we finally decided to take the long awaited plunge. While we weeded the beds, Saira pulled out every blooming ‘lally dans’ (dandelion) from the yard, bearing them as presents to us. She ran wild like a goat, happy on the grass, singing and picking every branch or twig or pine cone she came across.  I realized that what we have now is a blank canvas and a little girl to inspire us for the rest of our days. We are sure to have more fun in this garden than any other gardens in our life. This is now.

All that gardening on a hot day was justified by this cold green pea and mint soup we had on our patio. This soup is great served either cold or warm. You may want to add cream or sour cream to it, but we like the clean fresh unadulterated taste of sweet green peas and cool mint.

Cold Green Pea and Mint Soup with Crunchy Prosciutto

YOU WILL NEED:

Makes 4 servings.

  • Green Peas: 4 cups
  • Mint leaves: ¼ cup chopped (more or less depending on your palette)
  • Butter: 3 tbsp
  • Shallots: 1 small finely minced
  • Water or Vegetable broth:  3 cups
  • Prosciutto: 6-8 thinly sliced
  • Asiago cheese: 4 teaspoon shredded

HERE’S HOW TO:

  • Pre heat oven at 275 F. Place prosciutto on single layer parchment and bake for 10 minutes or until they are nice and crunchy. When done, drain excess fat and keep in an air tight container.
  • Sweat the minced shallots in two tablespoons of butter. Add the peas and toss.
  • Add vegetable broth or water and let boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the peas are cooked to your liking. We prefer ours slightly undercooked.
  • Add the rest of the butter and freshly chopped mint leaves and blend until smooth in the food processor. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Sieve the pea mixture if you prefer a silky soup or serve as is if you prefer a little bit of bite. Let cool in the fridge.
  • Serve cold with crunchy prosciutto and grated Asiago cheese on top.
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