Whether it's dressed up for a fancy dinner, or dressed down for an afternoon at home, this soup is always delicious!
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
  • Directions
    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.


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