Fresh pea soup
Sunday night after a weekend in Philadelphia (read: Dalessandro's) requires a sort of detox dinner. Bread, salad, and something fresh to make you feel fully human again. Enter fresh peas.
The gold standard for me is a bowl of pea soup I had at Mercer Kitchen a year ago. It was perfectly smooth, vibrantly green, and tasted like ten thousand peas had be juiced and reduced to a single bowl. The key here is not to skimp on the peas -- they're delicate and so you need a lot of them to get that really intense spring flavor.
2 cups leeks, sliced
3 cups fresh peas, shelled
3 tbsp butter
5 cups water
Fresh herbs for garnish (thyme, mint, tarragon, chervil or chives all work)
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the leeks, stirring to coat. Allow the leeks to cook for about five minutes, by which time they will have significantly reduced. Add the water and bring to a boil. Toss in the peas and allow them to simmer for no more than five minutes. Remove them from the heat and allow to cool to a reasonable temperature, and then puree in batches until smooth. Garnish with herbs and parmesan.