For the soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup sliced shallots
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 4 cups freshly shelled spring peas (you may use frozen baby peas)
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Basil Oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley, stems removed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Soft-Crisp Croutons
- 2 cups fresh 1-inch bread cubes (I prefer Ciabatta or rustic sourdough bread)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or favorite herb blend
- Pinch of sea salt
- Skewers (optional)
To make the soup
In a soup pot, melt butter over medium heat and cook shallots for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Stir in tarragon and basil and cook for 30 seconds. Add sherry to the pan and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add peas and broth.
Bring the liquid to a slow boil and cook until the peas are just tender, about 8 minutes for fresh peas. Stir in cream and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor or pass through a sieve or food mill.
Serve in pretty bowls and garnish with Basil Oil, Soft-Crisp Croutons and Radish and Arugula Salad.
To make the Basil Oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
To make the Soft-Crisp Croutons
Preheat oven to 425° F. Combine butter and basil and toss with bread cubes to coat well. Sprinkle with salt and toast in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Thread several croutons each on skewers and float on the soup.