Making Soup from Those Feathery Fennel Fronds

Making Soup from Those Feathery Fennel Fronds
When I buy fennel at the farmers' market, each bulb comes with a super-structure of feathery green fronds. Once home I whack them off (for easier storage of the bulb) and promise myself that this time I will use the fronds, chopping them, for example, and sprinkling them on salads. And each time that never happens. Instead, a couple of weeks later, I pull from the crisper drawer the plastic bag of bedraggled fennel tops and discard them. What a waste.
The last time I bought fennel, I got smart. I made soup and declared it durned good as well as easy to do.
Roughly chop the tops from one fennel bulb (including the tough, hollow stems) and put them in a pan with a quart of stock (chicken or vegetable). Scrub and add one medium potato, cut into one-inch pieces. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the tough stems.
Cool slightly, then puree in a blender (or use a hand-held blender). At this point you have a rough puree. You can eat it like this or put it through your food mill (this is my choice). You'll be discarding a lot of fibre but your soup will be drinkable from a mug, which is how I like to serve soup. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.
Tastes great cold or hot. This makes about 5 cups, which you can stretch by stirring in some yogurt, whole milk, or cream.


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