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Pea Bisque with Shrimp and Tarragon

This vibrant and velvety bisque, with its blend of split peas and baby peas, is paired with delicate shrimp and anise-like tarragon rather than the usual ham or bacon.

  • Servings: 6

Photography: Earl Carter

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2002


  • 1/2 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • Two 8-ounce bottles clam juice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • One 10-ounce box frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped


  1. Place split peas in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches; let stand for 6 hours or overnight.

  2. Drain split peas, and transfer to a large stockpot. Add clam juice, water, and onion; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas soften, 35 to 40 minutes.

  3. Stir in baby peas, and simmer for 5 minutes. Let soup cool slightly. Place in the bowl of a food processor, working in batches, if necessary; puree until smooth. Press through a fine sieve into a large saucepan, and keep warm over low heat.

  4. In a large bowl, stir together shrimp, garlic, lemon zest, paprika, and salt. Melt butter in a nonstick medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, and cook, stirring, until they begin to turn pink and opaque. Add lemon juice, and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and stir in tarragon.

  5. Ladle bisque into six shallow soup plates, and place a mound of shrimp in the center of each serving.

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