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Nothing says spring like this pea soup Add to ...

As a rule, make sure that your peas are nice and sweet, do not cook them longer than 10 seconds and place them in an ice bath right after cooking. This will capture their clean and beautiful flavor. Also, do not boil them too long when you're heating up the soup, as you'll lose more flavour and colour the longer you let it simmer. And take note: This is not a split pea soup with ham, which tends to dominate flavour-wise. This soup is all about the peas. Enjoy!

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  • Servings: 4

SOUP

4 cups water

1 cup sugar

3 cups fresh English peas

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon butter

Juice of one lemon

Salt and white pepper to taste

Oysters and butter sauce

10 small oysters, shucked, juice reserved

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons butter, cold and cut in small cubes

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon whipping cream

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Method

Place water, sugar and a pinch of salt in a large pot and heat to boil. Add peas and leave in water for no more than 10 seconds. Remove peas and quickly immerse in a cold ice bath. Remove peas from water, place in a blender along with chicken stock and purée. Push purée though a mesh sieve or place directly into a pot for a more rustic texture. Heat soup lightly and add butter, lemon juice and season with salt and white pepper. Set aside. In a small pan, heat wine and oysters over low heat. Place two poached oysters in each bowl and set aside. Put the wine and oyster juice mixture back on the stove over medium heat and add cream slowly, then add butter, seasoning and lemon juice. To finish, pour the pea soup over the oysters, then spoon the lemon butter on top, garnish with chives and serve immediately.

Chef Rob Feenie is the Food Concept Architect at Vancouver's Cactus Restaurants Ltd.

Suggested Wine Pairings

Your precepts: white and zesty. The wine must have a tingle of acidity to vault over the citrus and herbal high bar of the dish. Sauvignon blanc would be nice and perhaps the "obvious" choice. But my slight preference is a crisp chardonnay, such as Chablis or a lightly oaked version from Niagara or the northern Okanagan Valley. The thicker torso of the chardonnay would support the soup's creamy texture. If you're an adventurous sort, or simply a very advance wine keener, you might want to opt for sherry - always a good choice for soup - specifically an electrically charged, super-dry fino or a richer amontillado. - Beppi Crosariol

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