Fennel, Courgette, and Tarragon Velouté

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.
  1. Add everything except the tarragon to a pot and add just enough water to cover.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until the fennel is tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the tarragon.
  4. Purée liquid, tarragon, and vegetables together until smooth.   If desired, put through a sieve.
  5. Serve with a dash of sour cream (optional) and topped with a few fresh tarragon leaves.

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