Wild Fennel Soup

Zuppa di Finocchi Selvatici

Despite its title, this deliciously refreshing Sardinian soup works equally well with cultivated fennel. It’s a baked soup, with a delicate flavour, which makes it rather unusual.

Ingredients

  • 1 large handful wild fennel or 4 bulbs cultivated fennel with as many leaves as possible
  • salt
  • 24–30 X 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes white crustless bread
  • 5 oz (150 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz (100 g) stracchino or Bel Paese cheese, thinly sliced

Method

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

Wash and trim and finely slice the fennel, cover with cold water, add a large pinch of salt and cook on top of the stove for about 10 minutes or until tender. Don’t drain. Fry the bread in about two thirds of the butter until crisp and golden. Use half of the remaining butter to grease an ovenproof dish large enough to take the fennel and the cheese. Arrange the fried bread, cheese and fennel in layers in the dish. Pour the water from the fennel over the top, dot with the remaining butter and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve directly from the dish.

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