This dinner was an idea swiped directly from The Vicarious Farmer. Each week she has been sharing her CSA bounty and including some of the recipes she prepared using the fresh produce she picked that week. Yum.
We've made pea soup once before and it was well-received, but that recipe used frozen peas so I was eager to make use of the fresh peas in season at our farmer's market. Actually, the majority of the ingredients used in this meal made use of fresh, local ingredients, something I am trying to focus on, at least while the farmer's market is open this summer.
This recipe is from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop, a cookbook I've been using faithfully since I got bought it last winter. The soup calls for making a quick stock using the pea pods, scallions and parsley. I have to admit that I was rather reluctant to use my fresh-from-farmer's-market scallions for a broth where they would be boiled to death, but I took a deep breath and tossed them in.
Once the broth is finished, it is strained and the peas are tossed in for a quick simmer, followed by the lettuce. I don't know if I quite understand the purpose of lettuce in pea soups, but according to The New Best Recipe (the source for the first pea soup we made), "A few ounces of Boston lettuce added along with the peas gave the soup a marvelous frothy texture when pureed." So, I guess it's for texture.
This recipe called for topping the soup with creme fraiche or sour cream, but I had some leftover cream from the farmer's market, so I added a half cup of this before pureeing the soup.
This soup was quite good, but I liked the recipe linked above better. I'd like to morph the two some day and make the Cook's Illustrated recipe with fresh peas in place of the frozen and using the pea pod broth in place of the chicken broth.
For the panini, I used Wegmans' Black Bean Salsa bread, fresh cheddar from a local farm and chopped chives. Very simple but flavorful - the bread gave just a touch of heat which was a nice contrast to the cool, creamy soup.
Local ingredients used: lettuce, scallions, peas, parsley (from my garden), cream, and cheddar cheese.