There is something so fresh and cleansing about the flavour of fennel. This soup is about a balance of textures, the tender fennel with the creamy goat's cheese and the crunch of the breadcrumb crust.
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced lengthways
- 1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
- 140 gm (2 cups) coarse fresh breadcrumbs from a crusty white loaf
- 30 gm coppa, finely chopped (see note)
- 50 gm soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
- 1Preheat oven to 180C. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic, sauté until tender (3-4 minutes). Add fennel, sauté until starting to soften (1-2 minutes), add stock, cover with baking paper, simmer over low-medium heat until fennel is tender (25-30 minutes), season to taste.
- 2Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, coppa and remaining oil in a bowl, spread mixture on an oven tray and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden (6-7 minutes).
- 3Ladle soup into bowls, scatter with breadcrumbs and cheese, serve immediately.
Note Coppa is cured pork neck, salted and dried for at least six months. It's available at select delicatessens.
Drink Suggestion: Barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen