As it was St Patrick's Day this week, green food has been all over twitter, facebook and pinterest. Well, you can't get any greener than this Minted Pea & Parma Ham Soup !
I made my own version of pea soup a while ago, adding leeks, onions and bacon to the mix, but as I'd treated myself to a couple of Gordon Ramsay cookbooks at Christmas, I decided to try out his recipe for Minted Pea Soup with Parma Ham from Fast Food. It certainly is - the whole thing took about 10 minutes to prepare so it's perfect when you've had a busy day at work.
Well, following the recipe to the letter, I found it a bit bland - sorry Gordon ! - so I added a couple of ham stock cubes which sorted it out.
Minted Pea & Parma Ham Soup
2tbsp olive oil
4 slices Parma ham
sea salt & black pepper
large handful of mint
500g peas, fresh or frozen
200g crème fraîche
(optional : 2 Ham Stock Cubes)
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the Parma ham, sprinkling it with freshly ground black pepper. I'd never fried Parma Ham before and I thought it came out just like bacon, so you could use that instead if you prefer. Drain on kitchen paper and chop into pieces.
Add the mint to a pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil then throw in the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender and still bright green. I would have loved to use fresh mint but our mint plant is looking a bit sorry for itself so dried mint had to do instead. Frozen peas make this a real meal in moments using just store cupboard basics.
Drain off but reserve the water (I added a couple of ham stock cubes to it for ever flavour). Add just enough water to cover the peas and blitz with a stick blender. Add the crème fraîche (and Gordon suggests a drizzle of olive oil but I omitted this) and enough of the cooking water to get the texture you desire. Scatter with the crispy Parma ham and serve.