Our friend, Meredith Smith, is the winemaker for Sawtooth Winery and every now and then we’re not only given a sneak peek but are actually invited to influence what wines get put into bottles. She brings various versions of a wine in unmarked bottles, we taste, make notes, pick a favorite and give her our input. Wine is a magical mystery to me, so being asked to participate in these tastings is very special.
It also comes with a fair amount of pressure because there are some refined palettes at these affairs, and we all usually bring some food to help counter balance all the wine. I knew we’d be tasting some white wines – Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay – and while reds are infinitely easier for me to match to food, I wanted to step up to the occasion and bring something with white wine in mind.
My husband is the one that suggested soup. In combing my Pinterest board I came across this cold version from Food & Wine magazine. Chilled soups are great for these kinds of gatherings since they are easy to put together ahead of time with no worries about keeping it hot. Serving it as shooters makes it fun and more appetizer-y.
This soup went together fast, was very creamy (without the addition of any dairy) and paired lovely with the crisp whites. Like Meredith’s wines, it’s something I look forward to trying again.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for garnish (if you have citrus olive oil – I used lemon – it's a great flavor booster)
- 1 lb of fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced, plus chopped fennel fronds, for garnish
- 3 cups water
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh grapefruit juice, strained, plus zest for garnish
- Pinch of sugar
- In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the sliced fennel and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring a few times, until the fennel is softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the fennel is very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, purée the fennel soup in a blender until smooth.
- Transfer the soup to a medium bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Stir the grapefruit juice into the soup.
- Add the sugar to the soup and season with salt.
- Ladle the soup into bowls (or shot glasses), garnish with a little olive oil, chopped fennel fronds and grapefruit zest.