I first had something similar to this in London during the Olympics. I really enjoyed it, especially the bit of licorice flavor from the fennel. If you wouldn’t think of putting lettuce in a soup, you should; it adds a light flavor and texture to go with the body and the richness from the peas. A touch of butter rounds everything out. This is definitely a green soup. Serve it hot or at room temperature.
Green Pea, Lettuce, and Fennel Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium fennel bulb chopped (about 2 cups), fronds reserved for garnish
- 2 large shallots
- 1 medium head Bibb lettuce cut into ½-inch strips (4 cups lightly packed)
- 1 10-ounce package frozen petite peas
- 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¬æ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and shallots. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Add the lettuce to the pan and stir until it wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the peas, broth, and 1 cup water and bring the soup to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth, adding some fennel seeds to each batch. Combine the batches in a large bowl and return all of the soup to the same pot. Add the salt and pepper.
- Reheat the soup over low heat, thinning with a little water if it is too thick.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with some fennel fronds and serve.