Fennel, garlic and potato soup [Photo/The New York Times]
This anise-scented soup is reminiscent of the classic potato and leek soup known as vichyssoise, but it's lighter and contains no dairy. It's good hot or cold.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large or 1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 pounds bulbfennel, trimmed, washed and diced
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves or1/2 head green garlic, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, tied in cheesecloth
2 quarts water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
Freshly ground pepper
For garnish, choice of:
Chopped fresh fennel fronds
Lightly crushed fennel seeds
Paper-thin slices of fennel bulb
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion, celery, chopped fennel and a generous pinch of salt. Cook gently forabout 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and lost some of their volume. Add the potatoes, garlic, bouquet garni and the water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
2. Remove the bouquet garni. Blend the soup until smooth with an immersion blender, or ladle into a blender, working in 1 1/2-cup batches. Remove the center from the blender cover, place a towel over the cover and pull it down tightly to prevent splashing. Blend and return to the pot. Heat through, add salt and pepper totaste and serve, or chill and serve cold, with your choice of garnishes.
Yield: 6 servings.
Advance preparation: This will be good for 2 to 3 days. Whisk the soup before reheating or serving cold.
Nutritional information per serving (6 servings): 159 calories; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 28 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 105 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 4 grams protein
The New York Times