1 fresh fennel bulb, trimmed
10 cups water
2 leeks, sliced down the center and well rinsed
1 1/2 cups peeled, coarsely chopped carrots
4 cups coarsely chopped potatoes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups spinach, rinsed and stemmed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Thinly sliced radishes for garnish
A few fresh fennel fronds for garnish
Croutons for garnish
• Remove any tough outer layers from the fennel bulb, setting the tender inner bulb aside. Rinse the outer layers well and place in a large pot with the water. Cut off the dark-green tops of the leeks and rinse well to remove any hidden sand. Add to the pot, along with the carrots, about 1/2 of the potatoes, the thyme, the fennel seeds, and 1 tsp. of the salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes.
• Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulb in 1/2 and slice thinly. Remove the root ends from the leeks and peel off the outermost layer. Chop the white and most tender green parts.
• In a large soup pot, sauté the fennel and leeks in the olive oil until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the prepared stock and add to the fennel and leeks. Add the rest of the potatoes and simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach, dill, lemon juice, and remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt.
• Purée in batches in a blender until smooth and silky. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and finish with a few floating radish slices, fennel fronds, and/or croutons.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
From Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, copyright © 2001, Moosewood, Inc., Clarkson Potter, New York.