Spinach Soup with Red Pepper Puree

This velvety, dark green nectar is thick with spinach, the intense iron flavour softened by peas. It’s finished avgolemono-style with egg yolks and lemon, imparting a creamy richness to texture and flavour. For a dramatic finish, I’ve added a swirl of pureed roasted red pepper, a new favourite fridge food. It brings class to almost anything from pasta to simply cooked fish.

Serves 4

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 25 min

2 Romano red peppers

bunch spring onions

25g butter

1 large lemon

100g podded fresh peas or frozen petits pois

400g spinach

1 litre vegetable or light chicken stock

2 egg yolks

     Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Place the peppers on a small roasting tin and roast for 25 minutes, turning after 15 min. Transfer to a plate, cover with clingfilm and leave for 15 minutes. Rip off the skin, discard seeds and liquidize. Meanwhile, trim and chop the spring onion. Melt the butter in a spacious pan, stir in the onions with a pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, while you finely zest (no white) half the lemon. Pod fresh peas and chop spinach. Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice into a bowl and whisk in the egg yolks until smooth. Add peas and zest to the pan with 250 ml stock. Simmer for 5 minutes, add remaining stock, bring to the boil and add the spinach, pushing it under the liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes then liquidize for several minutes in batches to break down the fibres. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Beat a cupful of hot soup into the lemon/egg mix, beating all the time. Return the mixture to the soup and reheat very gently, stirring until thickened. Do not boil. Serve with a dollop of red pepper puree.