This vibrant green pea soup gets added brightness from fresh lime juice and a hint of jalapeño

Fresh lime juice and jalapeño add brightness to this silky sweet pea soup.
Fresh lime juice and jalapeño add brightness to this silky sweet pea soup. Chris Andre/Parties That Cook

Spring is here and so are all those delicious spring vegetables, including sweet peas. This recipe is a great starter for your next celebration, whether it’s a bridal or baby shower or any spring party. You can serve it as a first course, but it’s also fun to serve it as an appetizer in soup-shooter glasses or in mini cups.

If you are feeling ambitious and have the time, you can shell the peas yourself, or have your kids help. But many specialty or farmers markets sell them already shelled for you. A nice quality frozen pea will work just fine, too.

This recipe gets a kick from jalapeño and the sweet-flavored spiciness of cardamom. Cardamom is the aromatic seed of a plant from the ginger family. Grind the seeds, which come in small pods, or purchase the spice already ground. Or substitute another sweet spice, like ground ginger or cinnamon. (If using cinnamon, use just a pinch, since the flavor is so strong.)

I like to finish with a dollop of creme fraiche, but you can use yogurt, if you prefer. The acid of the fresh lime in the soup and in the garnish accentuates the peas’ sweetness and creme fraiche’s tanginess. This soup is delicious made with asparagus or other green vegetables, too.

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Spring into your favorite market and give this recipe a try.

Sweet Pea Soup with Lime Creme Fraiche

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Pea Soup:

6 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock, divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

3½ cups fresh shelled peas (or good-quality frozen ones)

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Garnish:

½ cup creme fraiche

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh lime juice

Cilantro leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

In a soup pot set over high heat, bring 4 cups of stock to a boil.

In another pot set over medium heat, melt butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Add the peas and 4 cups hot stock. (Let remaining stock cool to room temperature.) Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add ¼ cup cilantro leaves, sugar, cardamom, lime juice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Add the remaining 2 cups of room-temperature stock to the hot soup mixture. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, filled about 2/3 full. Blend until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes per batch on high speed. (Take care by holding the lid on with a towel. Start on low speed, then slowly bring to high speed.) Strain the soup through a fine strainer into a clean pot, and keep warm over medium heat.

In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, salt and lime juice.

To serve, place a ladleful of soup into a soup bowl and garnish with a dollop of the lime creme fraiche and fresh cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Bibby Gignilliat is the founder of Parties That Cook, a San Francisco-based culinary event company; www.PartiesThatCook.com.