If fresh green or English peas are in season, get busy shelling and make this quick and healthy puréed pea soup that can be served hot or cold. Since many commercial vegetable broths taste overly sweet and funky, try making your own. If you do use canned vegetable broth, be sure to dilute it with some water (about 1 cup of broth to 1 1/2 cups of water). When fresh peas aren’t available, frozen peas are a great substitute.
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
3 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 2 1/2 pounds of peas in their pods) or 1 (16-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the leek, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the broth, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and measured pepper and bring to a boil. Add the peas and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the mint leaves, and stir to combine. Let sit uncovered until the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan (if serving warm) or a heatproof bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. If serving warm, reheat over low heat. If serving cold, let cool to room temperature, cover, then refrigerate until cold. Top each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired.