Andrew Carmellini, the executive chef at Cafe Boulud, shares a recipe for English pea soup with mint.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a generous amount of salt. Add peas, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking, then drain again; set aside.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in crushed red-pepper flakes and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Place half of the cool peas in blender jar with half of the simmered broth. Cover lid with a kitchen towel, as hot liquid will expand when blended. Puree until smooth. Add half of the creme fraiche and half of the mint, and puree. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Repeat with remaining peas, broth, creme fraiche, and mint.
Place saucepan over medium heat until hot. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. The soup may be cooled completely at this point and stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to one month. Bring soup to a boil before serving.
Ladle soup into warm bowls and serve with croutons.