This warming soup is easily transported in a Thermos, with the garnishes and seeded olive oil crackers carried separately in airtight containers. The crackers can be made a day in advance.
- 2 heads of garlic
- 125 ml olive oil (½ cup)
- 8 fennel bulbs, quartered, fronds and two stalks reserved for serving
- 2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 litre vegetable stock (4 cups)
- 200 gm crème fraîche, plus extra to serve
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley (loosely packed)
Seeded olive oil crackers
- 200 gm plain flour, sieved (1⅓ cups)
- 50 gm wholemeal spelt flour, sieved (⅓ cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 25 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp each sunflower seeds and pepitas
- 2 tbsp quinoa
- 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 1For seeded olive oil crackers, combine flours and baking powder in a bowl, add 1 tsp fine sea salt and stir to combine. Add olive oil and 120ml water and stir to combine. Bring together with your hands, knead lightly to form a smooth dough, pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour). Meanwhile, combine seeds and quinoa in a small bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 220C. Divide dough into two pieces, then roll out each piece on a floured work surface to 2mm thick. Cut into rough 4cm squares and transfer to oven trays lined with baking paper. Brush crackers with olive oil, scatter with seed mixture, season to taste and bake in batches until golden and crisp (6-7 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
- 2Preheat oven to 180C. Place each garlic head on a piece of foil, drizzle each with 1 tsp oil and wrap individually to enclose, then set aside. Scatter fennel wedges on oven trays lined with baking paper and drizzle with 60ml oil. Season to taste and roast, turning occasionally, until golden and very tender (40-50 minutes). Add garlic in last 30 minutes of cooking and roast until tender. Set fennel and garlic aside. Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add leek and onion and stir occasionally until tender (6-7 minutes). Add stock and 750ml water and bring to the simmer. Add fennel, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for flavours to combine (10-12 minutes), then remove from heat. Squeeze roast garlic from skin (discard skin) and add to pan. Process mixture with a hand-held blender until smooth (be careful, hot soup may splash). Add crème fraîche, season to taste and process to combine.
- 3Thinly slice fennel stalks on a mandolin, combine with fennel fronds and parsley and toss to combine. Serve soup hot, topped with extra crème fraîche and herbs, with seeded olive oil crackers.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Drink Suggestion: 2009 All Saints Estate Alias I. Drink suggestion by All Saints Estate