What I am about to say should not be misconstrued as a complaint: Copenhagen is hot. Like, temperature hot.
This time of year I am almost always in Canada enjoying the summer sun and consistently high temperatures, so I had forgotten that this city could actually be quite warm. What a thrilling surprise, as I am a heat-seeking monster.
It’s so sultry in fact that I had to make a cold soup yesterday, something that I very rarely endeavour because it is so rarely weather appropriate in these Nordic parts. But the thought of eating anything above air temperature was a total no-go.
I had just cycled back from the garden with a huge bunch of parsley and needed to put it to good use. Although I am so very fond of the combining peas with mint, I thought I should head down a less traveled path and I was rewarded with a most surprising discovery: peas and parsley are total buddies!
After a quick blitz of heat to take the raw edge off the peas and a serious blend up, the peas and parsley turned into a silky smooth puree that was absolutely delicious, and even better after chilling in the fridge for 24 hours. The flavours all melded together and became richer, more complex and totally refreshing. For such a teeny amount of kitchen work and so few ingredients, I’d say this is one simple summer soup I’ll be making again and again.
Parsley: Beyond the Garnish
My relationship to parsley prior to becoming interested in health and cooking, was merely as a garnish. In fact, I used to work at a very low-vibe café where most of the food was frozen and simply reheated for customers (oh, how things have changed), but before the plates of predominant beige-ness were served, a sprinkling of minced parsley was showered across to “liven” things up. That is what I thought parsley was for.
If you’ve noticed the way I use herbs now, it is not in fact for making something long dead look alive, it is for flavour. Major flavour. And I don’t usually throw in a tablespoon either – my general rule of thumb for herbs is, the more the better. Notice how this recipe is called Parsley and Green Pea Soup? Yea. Parsley comes first. I am not messing around here.
The other bonus of bumping up the flavour in foods with fresh herbs is the health benefits. Parsley is a superstar when it comes to antioxidant content, boasting a wealth of vitamin C, disabling free radicals in all water-soluble areas of the body. Because high levels of free radicals contribute to many imbalances and progression of disease, consuming foods high in vitamin C can reduce the risk of conditions such as atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes and asthma.
Parsley also contains high amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene works in the fat-soluble areas of the body reducing inflammation and therefore helping to alleviate conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Chilled Parsley and Green Pea Soup
knob of coconut oil (or ghee)
2 medium onions (approx. 375g)
4 cloves garlic
a couple pinches sea salt
500g / 1lb. shelled peas (frozen is fine)
2 cups / 40g flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves only
3-4 cups / 1 liter vegetable broth (depending on how fluid you like it)
zest of ½ lemon 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1. Roughly chop onions and mince garlic.
2. In a large stockpot, heat a knob of coconut oil. When melted, add onions and a couple pinches of salt, stir to coat, cook for 5-10 minutes until onions have browned. Add garlic, stir to coat, cook three minutes.
3. Add 3 cups hot vegetable broth, (reserving 1 cup for blending) add peas, bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Add parsley and fold in to wilt leaves. When the parsley has wilted, transfer the soup to a blender and blend on high until smooth (add extra broth if desired). Add lemon zest, juice, and olive oil, blend. Season to taste. Serve as is, or let cool slightly, then place in the fridge until fully chilled. Keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.