NO ASSUMPTION ABOUT Austrian food galls Kurt Gutenbrunner more than the one that says it’s all heavy and stodgy. Visitors to his Manhattan restaurants find something altogether lighter and fresher on offer. “I grew up on the Danube with a big vegetable garden and apple trees, and that’s where we would get our food,” he said. “After a long winter, there would be peas. For me there is still nothing better than taking peas right out of their shells and eating them raw, when they are small and so sweet.”

With this recipe, Mr. Gutenbrunner’s second Slow Food Fast contribution, the chef captures the essence of that first bite of the season with a velvety spring pea soup garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche, a scattering of fresh mint and a few whole peas, for textural contrast. “After each spoonful you want more because each taste is like you are eating a spoonful of the freshest, sweetest peas,” he said...