The sweet, rustic licorice taste of fennel is at once unmistakable and subtle. It is so flavourful that it requires no stock, only water, and no extra herbs to transform it into a full-bodied hearty, satisfying soup. If the inner core of the fennel is tough and stringy, remove it with a paring knife. Serves 6.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
4 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 large red potato, sliced
6½ cups cold water
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fennel greens
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder and saute momentarily.
Stir in the sliced fennel and fry, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender and translucent.
Add the sliced potato, cold water, cream and the salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the fennel is soft and tender.
Puree the soup, using a food processor, blender, or hand-held mixer.
Pour the soup through a fine strainer. Serve: stir in the chopped fennel greens, then ladle into 6 warm soup bowls.