Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recipe : Fennel Soup with Green Herb Swirl

Another dish using one of my favorite winter vegetables. A creamy (though non-dairy) fennel soup flavored with a swirl of pureed fresh green herbs ...

3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed (reserve the fronds!) & and cut into thin slices
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & black pepper
1/4 cup long-grain white rice
6 cups vegetable broth, or as needed (may substitute water)

1 cup coarsely chopped fennel fronds (from the fennel bulbs)
1/2 cup Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and light-green parts
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & black pepper
some grated parmesan 

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add sliced fennel, onion and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has softened and picked up a little color.

Add the rice and the 6 cups of broth. Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Cook for 20 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender in batches and puree. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into the pot that was used to cook the soup. 

Discard any fibrous solids. Place over medium-low heat. If the consistency is too thick, add broth as needed.

While the soup is warming, make the green swirl: Rinse and dry the blender, then add the fennel fronds, parsley, scallions, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Puree on high speed until smooth, then transfer to a small bowl.

Ladle equal portions of soup into individual bowls, Swirl a tablespoon of the green puree into each bowl. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. 

(adapted from David Tanis' recipe in "Heart of the Artichoke" ...)

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