This quick soup dinner warms the soul. My mom gave me this classic recipe years ago, which I adapted just a bit, using regional fish — anything white and flaky will do — local leeks and potatoes with a splash of Pernod. (And an optional aioli crouton topping.)
It’s in Joy of Cooking format — remember that? — because I wrote the soup chapter for the 2000 version. Not sure if they printed this one:)
If you can’t find local leeks yet, wait! Makes about 7 Cups
Bring to a boil:
1-1/2 quarts water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
l teaspoon salt
4 leeks, tough green ends removed, well rinsed, finely sliced
about 2 russet potatoes, or more smaller potatoes, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
l bulb fennel, sliced, leaves reserved for garnish (about 2 cups)
l cup dry white wine or vermouth
l/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
Simmer rapidly until the potatoes start to fall apart, about 20-30 minutes.
l pound white flaky fish filets, cut into 2” pieces
l teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cover and cook over low heat, until the fish is just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
1 tablespoon sliced butter, optional
1 teaspoon Pernod, optional
Sprigs or chopped fennel leaves
Optional Aioli topping
If using, omit butter in soup.
Drop a toasted baguette slice topped with aioli into each bowl of soup.
Set in a bowl over warm water:
Immediately start to beat and remove from heat when starts to trail and turn cover.
Immediately whisk in:
l teaspoon Dijon mustard
Add in a thin stream, whisking all the the time:
Stop when it reaches the texture of mayonnaise.
Pureed or very finely minced garlic, to taste
lemon juice, to taste
salt, to taste