When it comes to fennel, my co-blogger has a cool detachment only slightly less chilly than her contempt for cauliflower. This recipe was an attempt to warm her to the idea of eating this hardy, perennial, anethole-rich, umbelliferous herb. Success was moderate.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Skill level: easy
Serves: 2 – 4
- ½ fennel bulb – very thinly sliced (reserve the fronds for garnish)
- 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- 1 onion – thinly sliced
- extra virgin olive oil – 60ml (plus extra to serve)
- green beans – thinly sliced diagonally – 280g
- a good vegetable stock – 750ml
- a good slug of Pernod or Ricard
- 4 slices of ciabatta
- ricotta – 250g
- s & p
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until caramelised.
Add beans and fennel bulbs and sauté for a further 2 minutes.
Add the stock and Pernod and simmer for 5 minutes or until the beans and fennel are just tender.
Taste and season if necessary.
Drizzle both sides of the ciabatta with olive oil and grill until toasted.
Spread the toasts thickly with ricotta and season to taste.
Ladle the soup into the serving bowls and top with the ricotta toasts.
Garnish with fennel fronds and a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Verdict: A light refreshing soup with a pleasant aniseed twist. The ricotta toasts add enough substance to make this suitable for a light evening meal.
Drink: A variety of summer ales.
Entertainment: ‘Ideal’, season 1 on DVD. I’m not sure why we missed this humdinger of a comedy the first time around … yes I am, it was on BBC Three.