Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as an appetizer
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 fennel bulb, stalks removed and bulb sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chopped tomatoes
4 grilled sun-dried tomatoes (or regular sun-dried tomatoes
3 to 4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish
Minced fennel fronds for garnish
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, fennel, apple and carrots. Saute until soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a minute. Add tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and 3 cups vegetable stock. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a blender being careful not to fill more than 1/3 full when working with hot soup. For a perfectly smooth soup, you can then pass it through a chinois. This is an optional step.
Add salt and pepper to taste and more stock if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of fennel fronds.
Marilyn Markel is culinary director of Southern Season’s cooking schools. She began her career as an instructor at the Central Market cooking school in Plano, Texas. In 2003 Markel moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., to develop Southern Season’s new cooking school. She served as a judge for the James Beard Cookbook Awards in 2013.