Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham
In a deep (8 x 5-inch) heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until coarsely pureed. (I like it to have some texture.) Alternatively, use a blender to puree the soup 1 cup at a time. Pour the soup back into the pot and season to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the stock, I may add up to another teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to give the soup a very bright flavor.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the ham in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until crisp.
Reheat the soup and serve in shallow bowls with a slice of crispy ham on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve hot.
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