Cook in the Moment: Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl

Ingredients for Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

Out with the old, in with the new. Spring is here, have you cleaned out your closets? Boxed up your sweaters and pulled out your sandals? It’s time to open up the windows and let in the light. To me, spring  has truly arrived when the birds start singing. I’m amazed by their gusto, listening to the finches belt out arias with their tiny lungs. How can something so tiny make such a powerful sound?

As many of you know, the husband and I just moved to a new apartment in a neighborhood just a few miles away. We never actually saw our unit until we signed the lease and picked up the keys. To our surprise our humble new home on the third floor has a large patio with a mountain view! In all the time we’ve called Colorado home, we’ve never had a mountain view, so we’re pretty excited. I look forward to many al fresco meals. That’s where David Tanis’ Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl comes in. Flipping through his book, Heart of the Artichoke, the recipe immediately caught my eye as a perfect way to celebrate spring. This time of year fennel is sweet and succulent, with a fresh, herbal flavor reminiscent of anise. If you’ve never cooked with fennel, this simple puréed soup is a great place to start. The “green swirl” is basically a pesto made with fennel fronds, basil, parsley, and scallions. I enjoyed the bright and herbal green swirl atop the velvety soup. Typical of David Tanis’ recipes, Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl is easygoing and low maintenance- let it sit on the stovetop while you prepare the rest of the meal, serve it warm or room temperature. I recommend bare feet and a light, crisp, refreshing bottle of white wine on a Saturday afternoon. If the birds show up to sing you a song, even better.

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10 Ways Tuesday: Fennel

Fennel (c)2012 LaDomestique.com



I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with fennel during spring:



1.  Fennel Soup

David Tanis’ Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl from Heart of the Artichoke seems like the perfect way to welcome spring. Just shopping for the produce is uplifting, filling your basket with gorgeous bulbs of fennel, bundles of scallions, fragrant basil, and leafy parsley. It’s an overload of green, which many of us are craving this time of year. The soup calls for sliced fennel to sauté in hot olive oil with garlic and onion, then simmer in water or stock until tender, which cooks the anise flavor of this bright vegetable down to mellow loveliness. A handful of rice gives the soup body reminiscent of comforting potato soup. The green swirl is a pesto made with vibrant herbs and fennel fronds that adds a light and fresh note to the nourishing bowl. Look for the recipe this week here at la Domestique!

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Ingredient of the Week: Fennel

Fennel (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

The daffodils are blooming, fields are taking on a green hue, and my shoulders are warmed by the sun, even though cool breezes brush my skin. Spring is here, there’s no denying it. This week at la Domestique, we open up the spring pantry. It’s an exciting time. The kitchen cupboards are full of bright, fresh ingredients for cooking lighter fare. Gone are the hearty stews and rich casseroles. Now is a time for salads, light soups, crudités, delicate fish, pasta, and cooking outside on the grill. Spring is not an aggressively flavored season, it’s about nuance- the mild flavor of fresh chives growing wild in the meadow, sweet and dainty pea shoots, tender lettuces and fresh garlic. If summer is obscenely bountiful, spring is a series of small celebrations: finding asparagus at market, the thrill of short-seasoned purple sprouting broccoli, that first radish pulled from the soil. We want fresh veg so badly we can almost taste it, but mother nature makes us wait until it’s time, dolling out the occasional reward for our patience. The first ingredient of the spring pantry is just what we need right now- something green, fresh, and herbal: fennel.

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