Saturday, May 30, 2009

Soup of the Day - Cauliflower and Fennel

It was feeling a lot like comfort food weather today, so I decided to make a pot of soup. It was also feeling a lot like "I don't want to get out of my pajama pants and walk to the shops" weather too, so this soup was inspired by what I had in the fridge and pantry. (And my own laziness!)Although I served it hot, it would be great as a chilled soup, topped with chives and creme freche or a few slivers of smoked salmon. Another option would be served in little shot glasses as part of a cocktail or degustation menu.
Those that know me also know of my love affair with fennel and this soup has the lovely aromatic fragrance of my favourite vegetable and a beautiful velvety texture.

Cauliflower and Fennel Soup
with almond and parsley oil
Makes 4-6 servings

For the soup:
3 large brown onions, sliced (they can be quite thick slices)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large fennel bulb, stalk and green part removed, sliced
Half a cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup chopped celery
Chicken stock (or water if you are a vegetarian) I just used Campbell's stock for this one!
Olive oil
Milk (or cream if you are feeling decadent)
Salt and pepper

For the topping:
Handful each of almonds and fresh continental parsley
1/3 of a cup good olive oil

Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a pot and cook the onions, garlic, celery and fennel until the onion starts to look a bit translucent. You do not want the ingredients to brown, so be gentle and turn down the heat if you have to.

Add the potatoes and cauliflower and combine well. Cook the mixture for another 5 minutes.

Cover the vegetables with stock/water and simmer on a medium heat until the vegetables are soft. While the veges are cooking, put the almonds, olive oil and parsley in a food processor or mortar and pestle and blend together, ready to use as the topping.

When the vegetables in the soup are done, puree the mixture till smooth. Add a splash of milk (or cream) and a tablespoon of butter - as little or as much as you want, depending on how rich you want the soup to be. Season well with salt and pepper. I like lots!

Serve hot or cold drizzled with the almond/parsley oil.


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