I'm normally not a fan of fennel, but when used in small quantities, it can impart huge flavor to a dish. Roasting fennel seems to mellow the licorice taste. For this recipe, I cheated. I used canned Fire Roasted tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes. If tomatoes are in season, they would be great roasted and added to the soup as well.
Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup:
1 large can (28 oz) Fire Roasted crushed tomatoes
1 small to medium bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 of a small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste
On a baking dish place sliced fennel, garlic (cloves left whole) and sliced onion. Coat with olive oil. Cook in a preheated (350 degree) for 25-30 minutes. In a large soup pot, melt one tablespoon butter over low heat. Add in the crushed Fire Roasted tomatoes and turn heat off. Once the fennel, onion and garlic are roasted, add them to the crushed tomatoes. Pour mixture into a food processor and puree or puree using a hand held mixer. Pour mixture back into soup pot if using a food processor. Add in chicken broth and cream and turn heat to medium low. Season with salt and pepper.
I garnished my soup with a goat cheese crostini sprinkled with fennel pollen and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.