“Eating from the Ground Up”

Out just in time for the spring vegetables appearing at our farmers markets, Alana Chernila’s cookbook focuses on creatively using every root and leaf. While some of the recipes may be familiar concepts — think stuffed tomatoes — hers are packed with millet, basil and parsley. Fried rice stars salmon, fennel and Swiss chard stems. Roasted asparagus are sauced with a combo of butter, garlic, nutritional yeast and tamari. Stone fruit, raw corn kernels, scallions, basil and jalapeño make a cool salad for hot weather. And fresh and simple describes the pea soup shared below. Clarkson Potter, $28.

Reach Marion Sullivan at mbscooks@gmail.com.

Pea Soup

This is a once-a-year soup, a soup to celebrate the very fact of the pea itself. Pick as many peas as you can, and don’t worry when they all reduce down to a single cup. That cup is enough, and the resulting soup will be good enough to last in your memory until next year.

Makes about 1 quart


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup chopped onion (about ½ medium onion)

Kosher salt

1 cup fresh peas (from about 1 pound shelling or English peas)

15 fresh mint leaves

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup heavy cream

For serving: Crème fraîche, freshly ground black pepper


Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water nearby. Submerge the peas in the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peas to the ice water and let them cool completely. Drain the peas in a colander.

Combine the onions, peas, mint, stock, buttermilk, cream and 1 teaspoon of salt in a blender. Blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds in a high-speed blender and 90 seconds in a regular blender. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then serve in small bowls with a dollop of crème fraîche and a grind of pepper.

— Reprinted from "Eating from the Ground Up." Copyright 2018 by Alana Chernila.