Tomato fennel soup (Soopa me domata ke maratho)
If you’ve never cooked with fennel then here is your chance to try it. Fennel has a lovely anise flavour and is very refreshing when paired with ripe rich tomatoes.
½ fennel bulb
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. (5 ml) fennel seeds
4 c. (1 L) crushed tomato sauce
1 c. (250 ml) vegetable broth or water
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) salt
pepper, as desired
1 baguette, sliced 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick
10 Kalamata olives, pits removed
¼ c. (60 ml) feta cheese, crumbled
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
Remove the tough inner core from the fennel bulb and chop coarsely.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook for 4-5 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and fennel seeds, and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the tomato sauce and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce and simmer for 30 minutes.
Purée the soup using a hand blender. Stir in the salt and pepper. Keep the soup warm while preparing the bread topping.
Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil in an oven preheated at 500°F (260°C) until the bread is browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. In a separate bowl, mix the olives, feta and tomatoes together.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the toasted bread, and a scoop of the feta and olive mixture. Garnish with a basil leaf. Serves 4.
Make ahead: The soup can be made 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.
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