Servings: Makes 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 medium fennel bulb , cut into 1-inch pieces (reserve fronds for garnish)
- 1 medium onion , cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic , chopped
- 1/4 cup Pernod or other anise liqueur
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 4 juniper berries (found with the dried spices in most supermarkets)
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sour cream or creme fraiche
- 4 medium cloves garlic , peeled
- 3 anchovy fillets , drained
- 1 cup Kalamata olives , pitted
- 1 tablespoon capers , rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 2nd lemon)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Cracked 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.