A smooth, silky, understated soup that is oddly compelling--the Greta Garbo of soups. Time: 45 minutes.
1 large fennel bulb (1 1/2 lbs. with stalks)
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion (8 oz.), chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 large (1 lb.) Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup fresh watercress leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
About 4 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
How to Make It
Trim root end and stalks from fennel bulb; reserve some feathery fronds for garnish. Chop bulb to make about 4 cups.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, add onion, and cook until limp, about 5 minutes. Add broth, fennel, and apple. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until fennel is soft when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in watercress and cook until wilted.
Purée soup in a blender in batches, holding lid down with a towel. Pour back into pan, thin with more broth if you like, and reheat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve topped with fennel fronds and crumbled blue cheese.