03/23/2012 11:59 EDT | Updated 05/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Quick And Easy Creamy Pea Soup With Roasted Garlic And Lime (RECIPE)

The inspiration for this rich, creamy pea soup came from an unlikely source — lime marshmallows.

While attending the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami, I had a chance to eat lunch at Food Network Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's restaurant, Tudor House Miami. I was really impressed by so many of the menu items, including the steak tartare, chicken and biscuit sandwiches, fried calamari, as well as his popcorn milkshake.

But I was completely won over by his simple pea soup studded with lime marshmallows. It was such an unusual combination that worked so well. And, frankly, it made a lot of sense. Peas pair so well with an acidic tang. It's why they so often get a splash of lemon juice or a sprinkle of lemon zest. So why not lime?

I considered his soup during my flight home and wondered how to recreate it. While I love making marshmallows from scratch for special occasions, I'm not likely to whip up a batch for a simple weeknight soup. So I decided to skip the marshmallows and work the lime juice right into the soup. Turned out great.

This soup — which is inspired by, not a recreation of Zakarian's — is incredibly flexible. I like the extra layer of flavour you get by roasting the onions and garlic. But if you'd like to keep it simple, by all means dump everything in a pot and simmer until the onions and garlic are tender, then puree.

And there's nothing stopping you from topping this with purchased mini marshmallows.

Creamy Pea Soup With Roasted Garlic and Lime

Start to finish: 45 minutes (10 minutes active)

3 large yellow onions, chopped

2 heads garlic

Olive oil

500 g (1 lb) frozen peas

1 l (4 cups) chicken broth

15 ml (1 tbsp) minced jalapeno pepper slices

1 container (250 ml/8 oz) creme fraiche

45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped fresh cilantro

30 ml (2 tbsp) lime juice

Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oven to 200 C (400 F). Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Arrange chopped onions in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Carefully cut off the top of each head of garlic. You should cut deep enough to reveal the tops of the cloves inside. Set each head on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spritz onions with cooking spray. Roast for 30 minutes.

After about 20 minutes of roasting, in a large saucepan over medium-high, combine peas, broth and jalapenos. Bring to a simmer.

Place onions in a blender. One at a time, carefully hold each head of garlic (they will be hot) over the blender and squeeze. The softened cloves should easily pop out of their skins and into the blender. Ladle pea and broth mixture into blender, then puree until smooth. Return soup to saucepan over low heat.

Stir creme fraiche, cilantro and lime juice into soup. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 190 calories; 100 calories from fat (52 per cent of total calories); 11 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 4 g fibre; 470 mg sodium.