Our proposal for your festive table this year is surprisingly delicious. It can be the first dish on any occasion you want to win the impressions of your guests.
Fennel and honey make a great pair in this aromatic, sweet and sour soup. The aniseedy and herbal taste of the fennel is balanced by the sweetness of the honey. Additionally, pollen is an ingredient that crops up in trendy sweets and savory dishes and is becoming particularly popular with chefs. It makes an interesting garnish for the soup. This plate is beautiful just with a swirl of cream.
1 large fennel bulb, roughly chopped ( any fronds reserved)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Orange blossom honey (Anise blossom or Heather also work great)
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 potato, peeled and finely chopped
1lt chicken stock(or a cube in hot water)
In case you use a cube beware of salt
juice of 1 lemon
Bee pollen-Fennel fronds- Cream
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Fold a piece of baking parchment up at the edge of a baking sheet so that the juices will be contained. Sprinkle the fennel on top with 1 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Use the oily spoon to measure out the honey and spoon it over the fennel. Put the baking sheet in the oven for a couple of minutes until the honey melts, then remove it from the oven and stir the honey into the fennel.
Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the fennel is starting to caramelize lightly at the edges and the honey has darkened. Checking after a few minutes and stirring the fennel around in the honey. Add the vinegar and stir it again.
While the fennel is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over low heat, add the onion, celery, garlic and potato and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
Add the fennel and its honeyed juices to the pan. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Leave to cool slightly, then whizz in a blender.
Taste and stir in enough lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the soup, remembering that the cream will mellow out the flavors. Ladle the soup into bowls and decorate with a swirl of cream. If you have them, scatter over a few fennel fronds. Just before serving, sprinkle on the pollen.