Make the most of fresh peas in this light and sophisticated take on a classic ham and pea soup.
1kg/2lb 4oz fresh peas in the pod, podded, pods reserved
100g/3½oz runny honey
100ml/3½fl oz soy sauce
1.5 litres/2½ pints chicken stock
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
300g/10½oz good-quality ham, diced
½ bunch fresh mint, leaves picked and torn
2 punnets pea shoots
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
1 green chilli, chopped
Cook the peas in boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until cooked. Drain.
Heat the honey in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until caramel coloured. Carefully add the soy sauce and chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the reserved pea pods and remove the pan from the heat.
Cover with clingfilm, set aside to infuse for 10 minutes, then pass the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside.
Meanwhile, remove the outer leaves from the cabbage (use the rest of the cabbage for another recipe). Finely slice the leaves and blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 140C/285F (CAUTION: Hot oil may be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Deep-fry the cabbage pieces until crisp, then remove from the oil and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, divide the peas, ham, mint, pea shoots, spring onions and chilli among four serving bowls. Return the stock mixture to the boil and pour it in the bowls, then top with the crispy cabbage.
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