This time of year is a bit of a cooking conundrum to me. I find myself growing tired of heavy winter recipes but I’m not quite ready to fire up the grill. In Chicago, there may be a blizzard one day and the next day all the neighborhood snowmen have melted into a pile of stick arms and carrot noses. The winter chill hasn’t quite left but I’m craving the spring warmth I’m told is right around the corner.
When it comes to cooking dinner this time of year, I crave dishes that are cozy and warm enough for winter, but light and fresh enough to welcome spring. This Fennel and Zucchini Soup with Warm Tomato Relish from Bon Appetit is the perfect in-between-seasons recipe. Fennel is in season from autumn until early spring, making it the ideal ingredient for a cozy yet light soup. The onions, zucchini and tomatoes add a bit of freshness that provide a delicious reminder that spring is indeed on its way.
What cozy and fresh recipes do you enjoy this time of year?
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups diced fresh fennel (from 1 large bulb), keep fronds for garnish
- 1 cup diced zucchini (I leave the peel on)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ⅔ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add diced fennel, zucchini, onion and celery seeds.
- Sauté for 5-6 minutes, or until fennel is translucent.
- Add broth and bring to boil.
- Cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
- Let the mixture cool a bit and then puree in blender until smooth.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Add tomatoes to the saute pan and and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until softened and heated through.
- Pour soup into individual bowls. Top with tomatoes and fennel fronds.
- Serve and enjoy!