Last weekend, I was asked to be a guest judge at the 8th Annual Taste of The Highlands, an outdoor food festival to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I was thrilled, of course. It's a great way to spend a beautiful spring day in our city – in the company of some other great judges (Broderick from Savory Exposure and the foodie event planners EatUpAtlanta) and some 30 local restaurants providing food and drink. It's also for a great cause – each year, the event raises between $25k to $35k for the charity.
There were so many great dishes at the festival that we couldn't pick just one. We had to create a sweet category, a savory category and a special mention for best cocktail of the day. Chef Hector Santiago of Pura Vida won the savory group with his rice dish and accompanying salt cod & baby banana fritters. Best sweet went to Tierra for their Tres Leches Cake – I've tasted nothing like it. The cocktail of the day was a landslide – The Warren's White Peach & Watermelon Sangria. You can see some photos from the day here.
After it was all said and done, all of us who attended that day kept coming back to one particular dish: a chilled pea soup topped with ham and radish. On that warm, sunny day…having that nice shot of cool soup was so refreshing, simple but flavorful. We've all been talking about it for days and I've gotten my hands on the recipe. Jay Swift, chef at 4th & Swift, kindly passed this simple recipe along. It's labor intensive because of the fresh peas but once you're done with the prep, it takes about 10 minutes to get the rest of the soup together. I've omitted the ham here but it adds a nice salty touch – feel free to garnish with ham, pancetta or bacon.
Chilled English Pea Soup with Ham & Radish – recipe by Jay Swift of Atlanta's 4th & Swift – makes about 2 cups of soup
– Place all ingredients except water in a high speed blender, and water until velvety smooth. Season to taste. Serve very cold with shredded or julienne radishes, diced ham of your choice and a fresh pea sprout or two in top. Have fun!