I was having some trouble coming up with an idea for this week so I took a look at my mom’s recipe books. Always good ideas for summer vegetables in them. I was thinking about a quick cold soup for weeknight dinner and spied an ingredient which got my creative wheels turning: fennel. But what else to add to the mix?
As it happened my copy of The Flavor Bible was sitting in front of me so I looked up fennel. Of course, apples jumped out. Now I know it’s not quite apple season but they’re coming, and soon too. That’s what’s kind of nice about this soup, it’s foreshadowing the coming transition of summer to fall. Seasonal soup symbolism at its finest.
I wanted to keep the flavors lighter to be more representative of summer so made sure fennel outnumbered the apple but I think my addition of walnuts and blue cheese adds a little more weight. Some crunch and punch, you might say. The soup turned out very nicely. Even with the crunch and punch it’s still light and crisp. There’s just enough apple in it to give some sweetness and cut into the fennel.
Even though I’m very pleased with the way this turned out I think it’ll be an even better hot soup. So many ways to make it a really good fall and winter soup. Now, I know you’re going to be really surprised when I say this, but adding some sausage to it would make it even more delicious. Especially if it’s something like a curry sausage. And even if you don’t have a curry sausage, throw some curry powder in. Talk about adding a nice flavor layer! Seriously. I’m not ready for summer to end but I do find myself looking forward to fall and all the things I love to cook when it gets cooler. Nevertheless, it’s still very refreshing for these last few hot weeks of summer.
Fennel and Apple Soup (4-6 servings)
- 2 large fennel bulbs, about 3-4 C small dice with fronds saved
- 1-2 apples, cored and small dice, 2-3 C worth
- 3 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 C water + 1 C water
- Lemon juice
- Crushed walnut pieces
- Blue cheese (or a goat cheese)
In a large pot over medium-high heat melt the butter. Add the fennel, apple, thyme, and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, make sure to stir things around so nothing sticks.
Add the 2 C of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 25 minutes.
Using your immersion/stick blender, puree the fennel and apples in the pot. (Can also pour everything into a food processor and puree.)
Add the remaining C of water and puree until smooth. Chill.
Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls/cups. Dress with chopped walnuts, crumbled blue cheese, and fennel fronds.