1 cup green split peas1/2 cup light olive oil 3 bay leaves 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped 1 bunch of green garlic, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only) 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch squares 3 stalks of celery, diced 1 celeriac, trimmed and cut into small cubes 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional) 1/2 cup dry white wine 8 cups water or vegetable stock Freshly ground black pepper 2 or 3 slices of bread, cut into squares, for croutons Parsley, finely chopped, for garnish Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
Sort through the peas and pick out any chaff or small stones you might find. Rinse them well, cover them generously with water, and set them aside to soak overnight, or 6 hours. Alternatively, cover them with boiling water and soak them for an hour.
Gradually warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a soup pot with the bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary, and cook slowly for 3 minutes to flavor the oil. Add the green garlic and cook another 1/2 minute without letting it brown. Next add the vegetables along with the salt and nutritional yeast, if using, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally over medium heat. Pour in the wine, raise the heat, and reduce. Drain the peas and add them, with the water or stock, to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the peas are completely soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Blend a few cups of the soup and return it to the pot. Taste for salt and season the soup with freshly ground black pepper.
Warm the remaining 5 tablespoons oil in a small skillet with 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary. When the oil is hot and fragrant with rosemary, add the bread squares, frying them until they are crisp and golden. Remove them from the oil to some toweling or a plate, and use the extra oil to flavor the soup. Serve the soup with the croutons, fresh parsley, and freshly grated cheese.
Adapted from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison