Memorial Day weekend took it out of me my friends, whew. In my opinion I have some of the best friends around and when we all get together we tend to celebrate as if the world is ending, or similar to a spring break-a-palooza. So when I made it back to Austin on Tuesday I was officially in recovery mode. My week was full of sleep, laundry and take out food (thank you whole foods!)
That being said, once this weekend hit I was ready to hit the ground running with long involved recipes full of bright and delicious seasonal ingredients; and even though it has been hot and humid in Austin lately the weather yesterday was perfect for a sweet pea and mint soup with refreshing shrimp ceviche inspired by Chef Chuck White.
I most often make ceviche with shrimp but you could also use scallops. It’s also excellent with firm-fleshed white fish such as flounder, cod, or halibut. It is super important to begin with fresh, fresh fish that has no lingering odor but smells faintly briny, like the ocean.
The trick is to dice up the shrimp and to take a little care to cut it into clean little cubes, not raggedly chopped pieces. Not only is this more visually appealing, the fish will “cook” more evenly in the lime juice. And cook it does! The acid in the lime breaks down the protein in the fish or seafood, just as heat does, firming the flesh as it becomes opaque.
Now it took me a loooooong time to come around to pea soup, but adding mint and the citrus from the ceviche makes this soup crave-worthy.
My roomie, Jenzy (Hi Jen) added an essential part to this meal- parmesan toast. Pause for reaction. This toast is soon to be a staple in this house and I highly recommend making it with this soup!
Ingredients: serves 2-4
8 oz shrimp, peeled de-veigned and diced small
About 1 cup lime juice- 6 to 8 limes (don’t skimp on the lime juice- make sure it fully covers the shrimp)
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced poblano pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 T. chopped scallions (white and green parts)
1 T. chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 pound fresh or frozen shelled organic peas
1/3 cup chopped mint leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach
To prepare the ceviche: in a small glass bowl pour the lime juice over the diced shrimp. There should be enough lime juice to completely cover the shrimp. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Drain most of the lime juice from the shrimp and transfer to a larger bowl. Add the bell pepper, poblano pepper, red onion, scallions, cilantro, agave nectar, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss gently, toss with olive oil cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
To make the soup: in a medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook about 4 minutes or until tender. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the peas and mint and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Let the soup cool about 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender add the spinach and puree until smooth. Taste and add S&P if needed.
Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the ceviche. Don’t forget some parmesan toast!