Wednesday, March 26, 2008

organic cooking method style - day three!

It's day three of our organic cooking, method style. (Cooking, on a method cleaning products site? Wha?) ...Annnd, let's rinse and repeat: These recipes are taken from the great time everyone had during method's Detox Seattle campaign! Check method lust for earlier recipes; as well as this post for cocktail recipes, and more information on Detox Seattle! So without further ado, today's recipe:

Saffron-Infused Fennel Soup with Almonds and Parsley Oil
Serves 6

Over the years I’ve developed a fond appreciation for all things licorice. Considering the fact that I despised black jellybeans as a child, I suppose I’m making up for lost time. I developed this soup recipe around my love for the licorice tasting fennel root, one of my favorite adult ingredients.

Passing the soup through the sieve is optional but if you want a truly luxurious texture I encourage you to do it.

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ea onion, large — medium-diced
2 tsps salt
2 cloves garlic — sliced thin
3 ea fennel bulbs — sliced
1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 cup Vermouth
3/4 cup almonds — toasted (save 1/4 cup for garnish)
1 quart vegetable stock
Lemon — to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground — to taste
1 bunch parsley, Italian
1 clove garlic — rough chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest

In a medium-sized soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt and stirring occasionally, cook for 5 minutes until starting to lightly brown. Add garlic and sliced fennel and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add saffron threads and vermouth and scrape the bottom of the pot to release any stuck or browned bits. Add 1/2 cup of the almonds and the stock and raise the heat to high. When the soup has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the fennel is very soft, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until very smooth. If extra smoothness is desired, press soup through a fine sieve. Return the pot to the stove and taste for seasoning. Add lemon juice to brighten up the flavors (start with the juice of half a lemon and then taste again). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Parsley Oil:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and dip the bunch of parsley into it until the leaves turn a vibrant green, about 5 seconds. Pull out and immediately dunk into a bowl of ice water. Squeeze all the liquid out and cut off the top of the bunch, discarding the bottom stems. (Some little stems between the leaves are fine). Put the parsley, garlic, salt, oil and lemon zest into a blender or small food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Taste for salt.

To finish the soup, serve in shallow, wide bowls. Top with a spoonful of parsley oil in the middle with some toasted almonds on top.


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