Pea soup with champagne and shrimp

Pea soup served with sautéed shrimp and a healthy dose of champagne (yes, in the soup) was an upscale dish served at some of my parents’ dinner parties when I was in my teens. For the last couple of months I have been trying to reinvent this dish into a cool new ‘upgraded’ version. I was thinking gels, different textures with bacon, etc etc…Somewhere in the back of my head though there was this nagging voice warning me of taking it too far.

Looking back at all my favourite dishes over the past year that I have either eaten somewhere or made myself, I have to admit they are usually not too complicated but instead manage to perfectly balance a couple of contrasting flavours. So this weekend I decided to skip all the frivolities, gels and bacon and get down to the core of the dish.

First, there is the pea soup. I switched the recipe’s chicken stock for a fish stock, and next time I’ll make one out of the shells of the shrimp. I was only going to try this on four shrimp so I had to improvise with one of those stock cubes. I can already feel the judgement laid down upon me! In my defense, we’re living sort of compactly and therefore I don’t stock a bucket of fish heads in my freezer. (And besides, storing a bucket of heads in the freezer seems a tad macabre.) I also added half of a scraped out vanilla bean I have lying around (so just the bean, not the seeds), to add a delicate layer of sweetness.

Secondly, there’s the shrimp. At home these would be quickly boiled and grilled. I wanted a perfectly cooked shrimp for this soup, so the obvious choice was chucking them into the sous-vide unit. It did not disappoint.

Lastly, there’s the champagne. In the original, it would just be added to the soup at the last minute. Doing this will destroy all those nice bubbles, which led me to blending the champagne with a little bit of soy lecithin. That way those bubbles get stabilized and you end up with a nice and light champagne foam.

The verdict? I really think Pea Soup with Champagne and Shrimp v2.0 was a great success!

Pea Soup with Champagne and Shrimp v2.0

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 500ml fish stock
  • 175gr peas (frozen)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean without seeds
  • Champagne
  • Soy lecithin
  • Shrimp

Sweat the onion in a little butter until golden. Add the fish stock, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and the vanilla bean, and let simmer for 10 minutes more. Blend everything and pass through a fine sieve.

Meanwhile, cook the shrimp sous-vide for 7 minutes at 60°C.

Blend the champagne with a little bit of lecithin. (I did this on the go without any set amounts, you can always browse the internet if you want specifics.)

Assemble by filling a small plate with the soup, adding a shrimp and topping off with the champagne foam. Enjoy with the leftover champagne!