Recipe: Chilled Spring Pea Chowder - West Coast Food

By Dan Olson, Chef/Owner, Railtown Café and Catering

A light spring dish layered with sweet pea puree, shellfish gelée, chowder garnish and potato cream, topped with caviar and a crisp rye crouton. Made with Littleneck clams, Dungeness crab, Side Stripe shrimp, Salt Spring Island mussels, and Northern Divine caviar.

Serves 8 appetizer portions


Spring Pea Purée
Freshly-shucked English peas (2 cups)
1 spring onion (white only), julienned
1 clove garlic
1 sprig tarragon
heavy cream (1/2 cup)
butter (1 tsp)
salt and pepper
1 lemon

Shellfish Gelée
1 fresh Dungeness crab
Live littleneck clams (3oz)
Live mussels (3oz)
Side striped shrimp, peeled and cleaned (3oz)
1 shallot
Chopped garlic (2 cloves)
Parsley chiffonade
Chive tips
White wine (1/4 cup)
Butter (1 tsp)
Cracked black pepper
Carrot (1/2)
1 celery stalk
Double-shucked peas (2 tbsp)
1/4 fennel and fennel frond
2 sheets gelatin (bloomed in ice water)

Potato Vichyssoise 
1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled, diced and boiled until soft
1 spring onion julienne
Butter (1 tbsp)
Heavy cream (1/2 cup)
Whipped cream (1 tbsp)
Lemon juice to taste

1 tin Northern Divine Caviar
Chive tips for garnish


Spring Pea Purée

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic lightly in butter until soft.
  2. Add the peas and chopped tarragon, fill with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until peas are soft but still green.
  4. Add cream, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add lemon to taste.
  5. Using a hand-blender, mix until smooth. Divide the thick, bright green purée into 8 glass verrines (small thick-glass containers) and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Shellfish Gelée

  1. Cook the crab in simmering water for 10 minutes and ice down to chill.
  2. Poach the shrimp in court-bouillon until tender (about 90 seconds).
  3. Simmer the clams and mussels in butter, white wine, shallots and garlic until the shells open up.
  4. Chill down and reserve the cooking juices.
  5. Separate the meat from the shells.
  6. Clean the crab meat out of the shell and make a stock with the crab carcass.
  7. Strain the stock and mix with the clam and mussel broth, heat and add the bloomed gelatin sheets to 400ml of stock. Strain and chill.
  8. Brunoise the carrot, celery and fennel. Blanch in salted water till soft.
  9. Add the parsley chiffonade and chive tips, mix together with the shellfish meat, the brunoise vegetables, the double-shucked peas and the warm gelée.
  10. Divide the gelée over top of the pea purée inside your the glass verrines. Refrigerate.

Potato Vichyssoise 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat off the spring onion in butter until soft.
  2. Add cooked potato and cream, reduce by half.
  3. Purée quickly in the blender until smooth.
  4. Allow to cool and fold in 1 Tbsp whipped cream.
  5. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.


Take the verrines out of the fridge, top with a thin layer of the potato vichyssoise, a spoon of caviar and garnish with a chive tip. You should see 3 perfect layers of spring pea purée, shellfish gelée and potato vichyssoise.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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