The light anise flavor of fresh fennel is a great tummy comforter and is delicious simply cooked as in this pretty pale green spring, Fennel & Asparagus Soup. The combination of the flavors of... lightly cooked bright green asparagus, and sweet, pale fennel is a winner, and will tempt the most jaded palate. Try it.
In a medium size pot, heat olive oil over a medium high flame. Add fennel and leeks to the pot and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the fennel is soft, about 2 minutes.
Bring another pot of water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for about 5 minutes so they become soft. Shock in iced water to stop the cooking (See Chef Tips).
Once the fennel is soft, blend working in batches, pouring the contents of the pot into the blender, ½ a vase at a time (see Chef Tips). Add the blanched asparagus as you go. Blend until almost smooth. Pour into a separate bowl until everything is blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled and garnish with fennel fronds and cracked pepper.
Always blend hot liquids in batches with the blender vase filled only half way up. Hot liquids expand as the blender turns and if overfilled, the steam can blow the lid off and scald you.
To ‘shock’ the asparagus: fill a bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside. Strain the hot asparagus into a sieve to drain. Immediately plunge the sieve into the iced water until everything is chilled.