Servings: Makes 4 servings
Ingredients 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil1 tablespoon unsalted butter1 medium fennel bulb , cut into 1-inch pieces (reserve fronds for garnish)1 medium onion , cut into 1-inch pieces2 cloves garlic , chopped1/4 cup Pernod or other anise liqueur1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes4 juniper berries (found with the dried spices in most supermarkets)2 teaspoons fennel seedsKosher salt and cracked black pepper1 tablespoon sour cream or creme fraiche4 medium cloves garlic , peeled3 anchovy fillets , drained1 cup Kalamata olives , pitted1 tablespoon capers , rinsed and drained1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 2nd lemon)2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilCracked black pepper , to taste
In a large pot over medium-low heat, warm olive oil and butter. Sauté fennel and onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Remove the pot from stove; slowly add Pernod. Return pot to heat; add tomatoes plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes; simmer.
Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over low heat, toast juniper and fennel seeds. Swirl in the pan until fragrant and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, coarsely grind spices. Add to soup; cook 45 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree soup in the pot until almost smooth, or puree in batches in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper.
To make olive tapenade, smash or pulse garlic in a mortar and pestle or a food processor until smooth. Add anchovies and olives; smash or pulse into a rough paste. Add capers, lemon zest and lemon juice; slowly add olive oil. If using a food processor, pulse only 3 or 4 times. Season with pepper.
Presentation 1: Dressed for a Dinner Party
Fill a white bowl with soup, add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with a fennel frond.
Presentation 2: Hearty Rainy Day Soup
Fill a deep bowl with soup; swirl in two tablespoons olive tapenade. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread.