Hot or Cold Climate Soup…………
Come what may this sumptuous soup goes on my Christmas menu! It is simple and elegant and its smooth velvety texture compliments oysters superbly. Creamy Pacific’s from Tasmania would be perfect but they are very rich, two each would be adequate. Depending on your hemisphere serve this soup hot, the warmth of the soup takes the chill off the oysters, or icy cold, then sit back and enjoy the accolades!
2-3 large fennel bulbs, finely chopped, cores removed, frond tips chopped and reserved for garnish
1-bunch spring onions, whites only, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1ooml olive oil
1.5L fish stock
Salt and white pepper
150ml double cream
50ml double cream for garnish
24 freshly shucked oysters or 12 if using Pacific’s
Heat oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté onions until translucent. Add fennel and garlic, toss to coat well with the oil, add fish stock and bring slowly to a simmer. Cook approximately twenty minutes until the fennel has softened. Purée stock and vegetables in a blender (this gives the soup a smoother finish than a food processor) then pass through a fine sieve to remove excess fibre. Return soup to a clean saucepan, season with salt and pepper and stir in double cream.
To Serve: ladle into hot/cold bowls, float two-four oysters on the top, swirl a little cream over them and garnish with fennel fronds.
* This is my adaptation of an original recipe published by Maggie Beer
Variation: Use scallops instead of oysters. Quickly sear them in a little oil, 1-2 minutes each side before adding to the soup