ITALIAN-STYLE FENNEL SOUP WITH WHITE WINE AND TOMATOES
In Italy, fennel is often served raw, as a crudité, or lightly cooked, then marinated in oil and vinegar.
But to my mind it also mixes well with these classic Mediterranean flavors. Bright colors echo the bright, clear tastes.
Serves 6 to 8 as a Starter
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5 cups any well-flavored chicken or vegetable stock
3 medium bulbs fennel, sliced
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes (peeled if you find tomato skin in the finished soup offensive) or 1 can (15 ounces) whole tomatoes with their juice
Pam cooking spray
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red onions, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and put through a garlic press
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup coarsely chopped fennel leaves, any tough stems removed before chopping
||In a large soup pot, bring the stock to a boil. Drop in the sliced fennel and blanch it over medium-high
heat just until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain out the fennel using a slotted spoon.
Set the fennel aside.|
||Add the wine to the stock. Bring back to a boil, and let boil over high heat 5 minutes.
Then add the tomatoes. Turn down the heat to a medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.|
||Meanwhile, spray a large skillet with Pam. Add the olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and sauté until starting to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the fennel seeds if you wish a more
pronounced fennel flavor in the finished soup, and continue stirring and sautéing for another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and stir for 1 minute more.|
||Scrape the contents of the skillet into the soup pot, deglazing the pan with a little of the soup
and adding the deglaze to the pot as well. Add the honey. Let the soup simmer 5 minutes, then season
to taste with salt and pepper.|
||When ready to serve, return the blanched fennel to the pot, and heat through. Remove from the
heat, stir in half the fennel leaves, and serve. Pass additional fennel leaves at the table.|