Split Pea Soup with a Roasted Fennel and Lobster Salad

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 1999

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pound green split peas
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 lobster tails, (about 6 to 8 ounces, each) cooked and small diced
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup milk
Dash of Crystal Hot Sauce
1 cup fresh parsley sprigs, washed, patted dry and fried until crispy

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, garlic, and split peas. Continue to saute for 1 minute. Stir in the water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peas are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. In a small mixing bowl, toss the fennel with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In another mixing bowl, toss the lobster, fennel, red onion, and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the milk. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper. To serve, ladle the soup into the individual bowls. Spoon the salad in the center of each bowl. Garnish with fried parsley.

Yield: 8 servings

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