Zucchini & Fennel Soup with Garlic Croutons

Zucchini & Fennel Soup with Garlic Croutons

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Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients
Croutons
  • 3 - 4 slices good-quality white or peasant-style bread
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • A small handful grated pecorino-romano cheese
Soup Base
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 small to medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs.), seeded and diced
  • 1 bulb fennel (about 1 lb.) -- cored, chopped and a handful fronds reserved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, parsley or mint leaves in any combination
Directions
  1. Turn on the broiler and toast the bread until golden; rub with the cut sides of the garlic, then cut into cubes and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO; season with sea salt, pepper and the pecorino-romano. Return the croutons to the oven and broil until the edges are crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. In a medium soup pot, heat 3 tbsp. EVOO , three turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the zucchini, fennel, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and partially cover the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the stock and a mug of water (about 1 1/2 cups). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until ready to serve. Stir in the herbs.
  3. Divide the croutons among 4 bowls and top with the soup. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes, then garnish with the reserved fennel fronds before serving.
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