Tired of zucchini yet? I’m not not ready to let go of summer vegetables yet, but I’m making batch after batch of soup as the temperatures begins to dip down. Heat, serve, and store back in the fridge — one of my favorite ways to eat. I love the gentle and sweet anise flavor of fennel, but I recommend going easy on the garlic here. Four cloves were added to this batch of soup, but I was initially tempted to toss in the entire bulb. I’m glad I didn’t, otherwise the fennel wouldn’t have had the opportunity to shine through. If your fennel includes stalks and fronds, save the fronds to make pesto. I added a little bit of of the pesto to the soup for garnish, but reserved the rest of it for pizza.
As an aside, if you are visiting or live near Detroit, the Arab American Museum hosts a food walking tour of Dearborn. So bummed I didn’t know this tour existed until after I moved. Please eat everything ever from Shatila so I can live vicariously through your stomach.
Roasted Fennel and Zucchini Soup
For the soup:
4 medium sized zucchini, sliced in half
2 fennel bulbs, cut in half
1 cup new potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, cut into quarts
4 cloves of garlic
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
For garnish (optional):
a tablespoon of chopped nuts per bowl (hazelnuts or walnuts)
fennel frond pesto
drizzle of olive oil
Fennel frond pesto (optional):
2 cups fennel fronds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more to taste)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, wash and prepare vegetables. Lay zucchini, fennel, potatoes, onion, and garlic on a pan. Use your hands to thoroughly coat the vegetables in olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and place in the oven. Roast for 35 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pesto (optional). Blend all the ingredients except for the oil in a food processor, scraping down the sides, processing again, and repeat until it’s formed a paste. With the machine running on low, slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture transforms into a loose sauce. Scrape down the mixture in the food processor, as needed. Give the pesto a taste and adjust the amount of cheese, lemon, and salt to your liking.
When the vegetables are ready, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a stock pot. Add vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the temperature and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf from the pot. Working in batches, blend the soup in a food processor or blender, or just use an immersion blender if you have one, until the soup is smooth. Return the soup back to the pot, then add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Season to taste, and serve. Garnish with some chopped up nuts, olive oil, and a small dollop of pesto.