Peas & Bees

Another recipe from Nordic Food Lab, this is a creamy pea soup with bee larvae and lovage.

For instructions on preparing bee larvae harvested from the comb, see here.

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Photo: Nordic Food Lab, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Start with fresh peas in the pod. 1.5kg will yield about 500g, which the chefs say is enough for one serving. These need to be blanched in salted water – but just for one minute. Cool the peas in salted ice water, then dry them off. Add 400ml of cold-filtered water, season with salt and pepper, and blend thoroughly in a thermomix or blender.

To make the pea mixture creamy, you can strain it in a chinois, then place in a vacuum bag to remove the bubbles.

The honeybee larvae are served on top of the creamy soup. They suggest 8 fried and 5 blanched larvae, which should have been frozen.

To fry the larvae, heat a pan until very hot. Pour in sunflower oil, allow to heat but not smoke. Add the frozen bee larvae and fry until golden, puffed and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Blot the fried larvae on a paper towel, and keep in oven at 70˚C to dry, then salt.

For the blanched larvae, add salt and lovage leaves to boiling water. Take off the boil; add frozen larvae, and cook for at least 1.5 minutes. They can be kept in the water longer as it cools.

You can add barley too – around 10g per serving, boiled with lovage leaves until tender.

Lastly, some fermented pollen can be scattered on top - this is also known as ‘bee bread’, and is an incredible food which bees make by preserving pollen in empty comb cells in a mixture of nectar and digestive fluids. This process of fermentation makes it more nutritious and entirely transforms the flavour. That’s pretty impressive microbiology from creatures so small.

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Photo: Nordic Food Lab, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
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