Marc Veyrat, a French chef who was on the Martha Stewart show about ten years ago once made Pea Soup and Mint Jelly. I've never forgotten it and have recreated it many times since myself. Using bouquets of fragrant, fresh mint leaves and peas, it's completely refreshing, stunning in appearance and perfectly suited for summer--and it's a soup to be sipped out of a glass! Although the recipe calls for pouring hot pea soup over the firm minted jelly, suspended above in a separate layer, I like to chill the soup first before topping the jelly and then serving it with a long, elegant spoon for my guests to combine as they may. Set up a humble arrangement of chairs on a shady back porch and do enjoy!
As always, my comments are in italics.
Fresh Pea Soup and Mint Jelly
Adapted from marthastewart.com
6 1/2 cups Marc's Vegetable Broth (or resort to using cubes)
60 mint leaves
2 tablespoons creme de menthe
1 sheet gelatin (the equivalent of roughly two gelatin packets)
1/2 medium leek, well washed and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 pounds fresh peas, shelled Coarse salt
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1 1/3 cups. Add mint and creme de menthe. Using a handheld immersion blender, puree to break up the mint leaves. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Soak gelatin in cold water to cover for 4 minutes (just dissolve as below if using packets). Remove, and squeeze out excess liquid. Add gelatin to broth mixture, and stir to dissolve. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into eight 5- to 6-ounce heat-proof glasses. Each glass should be one-third full. Transfer glasses to freezer, and chill until just set, about 10 minutes (I find it takes more like 20 minutes or so).
Combine leek, butter, and peas in a medium saucepan. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer until peas are tender, about 10 minutes.
Using a handheld immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve (and let chill n the refrigerator if you like!). Season with salt. Remove glasses from freezer. Pour hot soup over minted jelly. Wait 4 minutes, and serve immediately.
Thanks to allherbaltea.com for the image.