We love the idea of adding flavour to dishes with simple infused oils, such as a herb or spice oil, and the toasted fennel seed oil here adds lift and nuttiness to this creamy fennel soup. A crumbling of blue cheese or thin shavings of aged cheddar would also make a lovely extra topping.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 40 gm piece of prosciutto (see note)
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 120 ml olive oil
- 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock (6 cups)
- 6 fennel bulbs (1.5kg), diced, and 1 cup fronds finely chopped, to serve
- 300 gm sour cream
- Finely grated horseradish, to serve
Toasted fennel seed oil
- 120 ml grapeseed oil or light olive oil
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed (between coarse and fine)
- 1For toasted fennel seed oil, gently heat oil and fennel seeds in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until seeds become fragrant and oil is only just too hot to touch. Set aside to cool and infuse (1-2 hours).
- 2Meanwhile, sauté onion, prosciutto and garlic in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until onion starts to turn light golden (15-17 minutes). Add stock and fennel and simmer uncovered until fennel is very tender (30-35 minutes). Discard prosciutto and purée soup with a stick blender (or in a blender in batches, cooling the soup first). Season to taste. Just before serving, bring soup back to the boil, then stir in sour cream and fennel fronds, and season to taste.
- 3To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls, drizzle with toasted fennel seed oil, and scatter with horseradish.
Note: End pieces of prosciutto or other cured pork are perfect in soups such as this.
Drink Suggestion: Barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen