As I was reaching down for a box of lentilles du Puy in the Franprix the other day (and quickly, so I could secure the next place in line, in front the mink coat-wearing woman with the full basket who was closing in on my lead), I saw a big ol’ sack of split peas, right there, on the veeerry bottom shelf, just looking at me, all forlorn-like.
I thought to myself, Hmmm, I’ve got that hunk of bacon in the freezer that the cute, flirty blue-eyed butcher at the Ternes market gave me awhile back, and it would be the perfect thing to make that cheap-o sack of split peas sing, so I hastily threw the peas into my basket and snagged my place at the register. (Take that, Birkin bag lady!)
I made these in the slow cooker, and it’s just so dang simple that I wasn’t even thinking about posting this recipe — but when I played around and added some caramelized onions, and drizzled the hazelnut oil…and then, made the little Roquefort Breadsticks, I thought, yikes, I gotta tell everyone about this.
The caramelized onion/hazelnut/Roquefort threesome is a killer combo, and turns that old drab bowl of pea soup into something else altogether.
It sounds so fancy, doesn’t it? Perhaps — gasp — a little bit French. (I know. It’s starting to seep into my bones, the Frenchiness.) But listen, the peas take no time — I mean, no time at all — to put together. And the oil, that’s just the one and a half seconds it takes to drizzle, and the breadsticks, like the onions, take about 15 minutes. So I’m talking about nothing, really, time-wise, if you’ll just get these babies going at night, say before you start watching “Law & Order” and fall asleep by the third commercial, you can have this fabulous soup for lunch the next day.
Split Pea Soup with Caramelized Onions, Hazelnut Oil & Roquefort Breadsticks
1 pound split peas, rinsed and picked over
1 medium onion, 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 big hunk bacon or ham
1 medium onion, 1/4-inch dice
1 recipe Roquefort Breadsticks, recipe follows
1. In a medium skillet, drizzle a bit of olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Turn the heat on medium-high and cook until the onions begin to become translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
2. Put the onion-garlic mixture in a slow cooker, add the split peas, the hunk of bacon or ham, and cover with water by about 3 inches. Turn on low heat for 4 hours. (If not using a slow cooker, simply cook on the stovetop on low heat for about an hour.)
3. Drizzle a bit more olive oil in the skillet and cook the other onion until it’s golden brown. Remove these onions from the skillet, and save for the garnish.
To serve, spoon the soup in a shallow bowl, add some of the caramelized onions, and drizzle with hazelnut oil. Add a Roquefort Breadstick, too.
Cowgirl Tip: Lardons, bacon, or ham would be a nice garnish for this soup too, along with a swirl of creme fraiche.
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa’s Cheese Straws recipe
1 package puff pastry
4 ounces Roquefort , crumbled
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Roll out the puff pastry onto a flat surface, and cover with bits of Roquefort. Give the pepper mill a pass over the dough, too.
2. Gently press the Roquefort crumbles and the pepper into the dough. With a pizza slicer, make as many strips as you can, about 1-inch wide. Twist them and lay them out on a greased cookie sheet or one that you’ve lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.