Wednesday, January 14, 2015

National Soup Month: Fennel and Potato

Satisfy your soup craving with Trademark's Fennel and Potato soup with crispy gnocchi “croutons” and vanilla salt.


For the soup:
1 ½ lb      Potatoes, peeled (approx. 3 to 4 average sized potatoes)
15 oz    Fennel (approx. one large bulb)
3 ea    garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp    celery, ¼” dice
1 ea    small onion, ¼” dice
1 pinch    white pepper
1 ½ tsp     salt
1 ea    sprig of parsley, coarsely chopped
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp whole butter
For the “croutons”:
½ lb gnocchi*
1 tbsp olive oil
vanilla bean finishing salt**

*packaged gnocchi is found in either dry goods or with fresh pasta in the refrigerated products section.
**vanilla finishing salt can be bought made by brands such as TheSpiceLab, saltworks.  Search google shopping.  Alternatively make your own, its easy and the recipe follows

For the soup:
  • Peel and cut potatoes into 1 inch size slices
  • Trim and cut fennel bulb into 1 inch size pieces (use only the pale parts, not green)
  • Sautee onions, celery, garlic and parsley in olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes
  • Add potato and fennel, soften a little without color, add white pepper and stir, then add water till the vegetables are just covered, reduce heat and simmer until cooked through (about 25 minutes)
  • Blend with immersion hand blender until smooth, add milk until correct consistency
  • Season with salt, and simmer for further five minutes, keep warm
For the “croutons”:
In a non-stick sautee pan, sautee dry gnocchi (you don’t need to parboil the gnocchi) over medium high heat until crispy and golden.  Drain on paper towel.
To Finish:
Now finish the soup by whisking in whole butter, serve in bowls with crispy gnocchi as croutons on top, finish with a drizzle of olive oil (bay leaf infused is particularly good) and a small pinch of vanilla salt for each bowl.

Make your own Vanilla Bean Finishing Salt
Use whatever is left to add an extra touch to your favorite homemade cookies, or use it rim the glass on your next martini.  Vanilla finishing salt can also be used for an added finishing twist to a variety of savory dishes, particularly seafood.  Try sprinkling at the end the next time you make scallops, lobster or grilled shrimp.
1/4 cup sea salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved

Preparation Method
Remove beans from vanilla pod and mix thoroughly with sea salt. Package in an airtight container. Store at room temperature until ready to use.  Suggest making at least 24 hours before use.

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