On Sunday mornings I get up early, have a copy of coffee while I cruise Pinterest and eat my usual breakfast — a veggie omelet and half a grapefruit – and I head out the door for the Baltimore Farmer’s Market and Bazaar. As a friend pointed out dryly, “I see you’re going to your place of worship.” Guilty.
I love everything about this market. I love zipping into the city with ease while the streets are still sleeping. When I get there, the vendors at the entrance are still arranging paintings on blankets on the ground or hanging out bright skirts as if they barely made it out of bed but are glad to have made the effort. It’s still spring, so it’s chilly enough for jeans, a cardigan, and flip flops – a kind of sloppy uniform for me.
I love the smells of the market – kettle corn, smoked pork shoulder, chive dumplings, pastries, and Zeke’s Coffee. I love the diversity of the marketgoers – the preppy mothers with their oxford cloth shirts, loafers and straw baskets, the ladies who are already dressed for church in bright purple or red dresses and tall hats, the chef types wearing kitchen clogs and piercings.
Atmosphere aside, the reason I come to the market every Sunday is that I can get good quality produce directly from the farmer who grew it at reasonable prices, often before the same items are available at grocery stores. What I can find at local markets often drives the menu for the week, and it nearly always determines what makes it into this blog.
This Sunday a line of customers wound its way about a quarter of the way through the market as folks waited their turn to purchase the first green peas of the season from farmer Tom McCarthy. Already and shelled and perfectly sweet, they were perfect for this chilled pea soup, made with tarragon and chives.
Flowering chives with their purple blossoms – also abundant during this time of year – are just lovely and were the inspiration for the photographs in this post. I’ve always loved lavender and bright green together.
- 2 Tablespoons butter (use olive oil for vegan version)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 32-ounce cartons vegetable or chicken broth (8 cups)
- 2 pounds fresh peas, shelled
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- Crème fraîche or sour cream (for garnish only - omit for vegan or paleo option)
- Fresh tarragon leaves
- Fresh chives
- Melt butter in stock pot over medium-low heat.
- Add onion and cook, stirring until tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add flour and stir 2 minutes.
- Add broth, peas, and chopped tarragon.
- Turn heat up to medium until broth begins to boil - then turn down to medium low again.
- Simmer until peas are very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Puree soup in two batches in blender.
- Transfer to medium bowl and refrigerate until well chilled.
- To serve, season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a tablespoon of crème fraîche, chives, and tarragon leaves.