Soup in mini cocotte, garnished with crispy shallots, fennel fronts and flaky sea salt on a beige linen in an outdoor setting.
Photography, Art Direction and Food Styling: Anthony Contrino

Now that it’s officially fall, it’s time to throw on a hoodie and make some soup.  It just so happens that fennel is now in season.  If you’re not typically a fan of the anise-flavored vegetable, I dare you to try this soup.  The caramelization process mellows the anise flavor and adds a subtle sweetness.  Get all cheffy and garnish the soup with some crispy shallots, fennel fronds and smoked sea salt – it’s sure to impress!

Caramelized Fennel Soup with Crispy Shallots

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6



  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 large shallots, sliced into thin rounds
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, sliced thinly and washed and dried thoroughly
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crispy Shallots, for serving, recipe follows
  • Fennel fronds, for garnish
  • Smoked flake sea salt, for garnish


  • MAKE THE CRISPY SHALLOTS. In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the oil to 350-degrees.
  • Meanwhile, dredge the shallots in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Fry until crispy and golden brown, about 1 minute.
  • Drain on a paper towel-lined plate until ready to use.
  • MAKE THE SOUP. In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the fennel and cook, stirring often, until the fennel is caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine and continue to cook until reduced by half.
  • Add the potatoes, and broth. Add some water, but only enough to make sure the potatoes are submerged.
  • Cook, covered, over medium heat, until the potatoes are extremely tender. Remove from the heat.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until smooth, adding more water, as necessary to achieve the desired consistency; the soup should be smooth and velvety, but not runny.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve in small bowls. Top with crispy shallots and garnish fennel fronds, and smoked flake sea salt.


If you do not have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup, in batches, using a standard blender.
The soup can be made up to 5 days in advance. Add water to thin it out after refrigeration.
Course: Soup
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino