Back in Quebec, we’re used to temperatures reaching the upper 30s with humidex in the summer (that’s the 90s, for those of you who understand fahrenheit), so air conditioners are pretty common. Here in Norway? Not so much. 26 feels almost unbearable and all I can think of to cool down is to eat a refreshingly cold soup.
let’s make a cool soup
• Start with a good vegetable stock. You can keep vegetable scraps (e.g. onion skins, carrot peels, herb stems, etc.) in your freezer precisely for occasions like these, or make a quick one from scratch using whole veg — usually involving onion, carrot and celery with some dried or fresh woody herbs like thyme, sage or bay leaves, plus salt and pepper. Alternatively, store-bought bouillon cubes, stock powder or liquid broth all work too.
• In another pot, gently sautée an onion or a few shallots (roughly chopped) until translucent. Use a bit of butter and/or olive oil here, whichever you prefer, and season lightly with salt. Add in fresh or frozen green peas (I prefer frozen for this soup), as much or as little as you like. More peas means a thicker, more flavoursome meal, so I like to be generous here.
• Pour the stock in with the onions and peas, and stir on medium heat. You want to keep the peas tasting fresh and looking vibrant, so you’ll only want them to simmer for 2 to 5 minutes (2 for frozen, 5 for fresh). After that, no need to keep the stove on any longer. It’s blending time!
• Blitz everything up with an immersion blender. Then add in your fresh mint and blend again. As with the peas, the more you add, the more flavour you’ll get. Feel free to taste and adjust the quantities of peas and mint, vegetable stock, as well as salt and pepper, to your liking.
• Because this is a cold soup, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to chill it before serving. Alternatively, you could use cold vegetable stock and cook the peas separately, or blend some ice cubes directly into the soup (this will dilute the flavour tough). To garnish, top with chopped mint and pistachios, a drizzle of olive oil, and an extra sprinkle of salt (flaky sea salt is great for finishing dishes).
You could probably enjoy this soup hot too if the weather is more on the chilly side, but I find it particularly well suited for canicular days.