I recently had the unexpected visit of a dear friend, Danielle. This necessarily required going out for a nice dinner – as much as I love cooking, I wasn’t going to waste a moment of our short time together in the kitchen.
Instead we went to the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow. They served us an amuse-bouche: a demi-tasse of fennel, courgette, and tarragon velouté. It was lovely, but much too salty to my taste. Still, it was an inspiring combination and I decided to experiment.
You can make this as a potage if you prefer, but I find that putting it through a strainer after processing, to create the velvety texture (from which the term velouté is derived) kicks this up a notch from a casual family soup to a sophisticated and elegant starter.
You will need:
- one fresh fennel bulb – sectioned then thinly sliced.
- two small courgettes – diced.
- A pinch of salt (I used flor de sal I brought back from Portugal, but any nice sea salt will do)
- Optional: celery and / or onion, finely chopped.
- A generous bunch of fresh tarragon.
- Add everything except the tarragon to a pot and add just enough water to cover.
- Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until the fennel is tender.
- Remove from the heat and add the tarragon.
- Purée liquid, tarragon, and vegetables together until smooth. If desired, put through a sieve.
- Serve with a dash of sour cream (optional) and topped with a few fresh tarragon leaves.