Chilled Pea Soup with Crab Salad & Black Olive Oil
In episode 2 of “Around the World with Manu” I cooked a VIP lunch at At.mosphere restaurant in the Burj Khalifa. This exquisite chilled pea soup, a recipe from my second book — Manu’s French Bistro, was the entree. It’s quite a simple dish, so starting with fresh ingredients really makes a difference. If you decide to make the black olive oil remember that it needs to be started a day before.
Serves 4 – 6
For the soup
- 50 ml olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh marjoram
- 650 g fresh or frozen peas
- 500 ml pure cream
- 175 g baby spinach, stalks removed
- Micro herbs or chervil sprigs, to garnish
For the crab salad & vinaigrette
- 30 ml champagne vinegar
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 preserved lemon quarter
- 1 eschallot, finely chopped
- 200g cooked crab meat, picked to remove any shells
For the black olive oil, optional
- 250 g pitted kalamata olives
- 200 ml olive oil
- For the black olive oil, if using, preheat an oven to 60°C. Place the olives on a baking tray and dehydrate in the low oven for 8 hours (or overnight if time permits) until olives are firm and dry. Blend the dried olives and 200 ml olive oil in a high speed blender until smooth. Press mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until required.
- For the soup, heat 50 ml olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 – 6 minutes or until it has softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and marjoram, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Add the peas and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the cream and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and stir in the spinach. Cover and leave to stand for 1 – 2 minutes for until the spinach has wilted.
- Puree the soup in a high speed blender until smooth, then pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Cover and chill in the fridge until required.
- For the crab salad, place vinegar and olive oil in a bowl and whisk to combine. Rinse preserved lemon quarter, remove flesh and discard, then finely chop the rind. Add the preserved lemon rind and eschallot to the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the crab meat and toss gently to combine.
- Divide the chilled soup among shallow bowls then place a generous mound of the crab salad in the center and scatter with micro herbs or chervil sprigs. Drizzle with a bit of black olive oil, if using, and serve immediately.
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