Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon

Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon (0093) by Meeta K. Wolff, on Flickr

First, I want to say WOW! Thanks for all those incredible comments, wishes and feedback on my last post. I was so touched by your heartfelt thoughts. It just blew me away. I enjoyed reading them so much, smiling and tearing up all at the same time.

March is here already! Hard to believe but very thankful. February is the hardest month for me. After a long hard winter I am just itching to put away those heavy coats and big boots. Early morning irritation starts with having to pull on the uncomfortable stockings and layer after layer of textile until one feels a bit like the Michelin Man. February is mostly spent cursing under my breath: the iced up windscreen, forever cold hands, itchy scarves, stockings hanging between the knees - the list is long.

So March is welcomed with arms wide open, ready to greet the warmer, longer days and allow Spring to arrive - the quicker the better. I hear those peep toe heels and ballerinas chanting to be let out from their winter hibernation deep in the cupboard and the lighter dresses and skirts tempt me with their vibrant colors.

Inevitably, the very first day with warm rays of sunshine and the slow rise of temperatures comes around and pulls me into its force of attraction. I want to kick off the boots and walk barefooted in the still bleak looking grass. I long to strip off the woolen scarf tucked tightly around my neck and soak up the sun. It’s grueling to restrain.

The markets taunt me too. The very first rhubarb, peas and strawberries color the stalls with their juicy and flamboyant colors. I see delightful tarts, crumbly pavlovas and rich trifles before my eyes. It’s torturous to suppress the cravings.

oasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon (0027) by Meeta K. Wolff

It’s deceitful! While the temperatures feel warmer the day has a cunning chill and while the luscious produce look voluptuous, they still need time for perfection. I pacify myself, saying only a few more days till Spring really does come around to stay, instead of peeking around the corner for just a day. Till then we warm ourselves with steaming soups using some of the fresh vegetables from the markets.

Fennel is widely available year round and is one of my most favorite vegetables. Popular in the Mediterranean cuisine, often associated with Italian cooking, fennel adds a wonderfully refreshing and slightly sweet flavor to any dish. It is so versatile that it can be prepared raw in a salad or sautéed in olive oil then tossed in some pasta, thrown into soup, but it tastes best when roasted.

Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon (0102) by Meeta K. Wolff

For this soup that’s exactly what I did. Gently roasting vegetables unlocks all the caramelized goodness and extracts a more intense flavor out of them. For a vegetable like fennel, which offers a striking anise flavor, this means boosting those flavors to a new level. Serve the soup with chunky rustic bread - you’ll love it!

Recipe: Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon

Printable version of recipe here

Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: approx. 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium fennels, bulb and tender stalks into slices
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 60ml Pernod
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 125 ml double cream
  • Chipotle Chili, I used Smaromi
  • Salt and pepper
  • 400g smoked salmon


  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Arrange the fennel slices in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the fennel is just tender but not brown.

  2. In the meantime melt the butter and sweat the shallots and garlic in a large pot for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Heat a pan over low-medium heat. Add the anise seeds and gently roast until fragrant – approx. 30 seconds. Crush the seeds using a pestle and mortar. Add the crushed seeds to the pot with the shallots and garlic.

  4. When the fennel slices are ready transfer to the pot along with the potatoes. De-glaze with the Pernod, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any bits that have stuck to it. Pour the vegetable stock, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

  5. When the soup is ready, blend using a hand-held immersion blender into a smooth puree. Stir in the cream making sure the soup does not boil again. Slice the salmon into bite size pieces and add to the soup. Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the chipotle chili. Serve immediately.


You'll find everything you need to know about the versatile fennel in my Food Guide, including selecting the perfect fennel and storing it for perfect freshness.



Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon (0029) by Meeta K. Wolff

The soup is incredible and offers a complex, yet refreshing flavor. The Pernod adds an exceptional aroma and the sprinkling of the smoky chipotle chili gives it a slight heat. Pairing it with the subtle flavors of smoked salmon is simply fantastic as it gives the soup an additional flavor highlight.

Have you got questions concerning the Plate to Page workshops? We answer them on our FAQ page, If you are looking to hone your writing and photography skills come join us for Plate to Page Somerset due to be held in the UK in Spring 2012!  Have a look at the programme, details about accommodation, and then can register here. Places are limited to 12. It would be great to see you there!

DubaiBadge-Sidebar-250 If you are closer to Dubai however then maybe you would like to join me over at Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm for a 2-day Workshop, focusing exclusively on food photography and styling.

The details are as follows:
When: Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th April
Where: Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Your Instructor: Meeta K. Wolff
Your Host: Sally Prosser
Workshop Website

MonthlyMingleBanner March2012

The March session of the Monthly Mingle has just kicked off and my lovely hostess is Chris of Mele Cotte. I’ve “known” Chris for a long time now, she not only has participated in a few mingles but we baked up a fury with the Daring Bakers every month!

Chris has chosen the perfect theme to welcome Spring along with “Berries & Cherries”! I am quite excited about the theme and am looking forward to all your creations. Go on over to Mele Cotte to check out all the details on how you can join this mingle.

You might enjoy these soups from WFLH:

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup with a Hint of Cumin Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup - Pappa al Pomodoro Spicy Roasted Tomato And Red Bell Pepper Soup

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. How funny that your March has you craving Spring and MY March has me craving Autumn!! This soup sounds so heavenly. I love the intensity of flavor from roasted vegetables and am always roasting something. Looking forward to getting back from my next trip and hunkering down for lovely cool Fall days and good soups like this.

  2. Fennel is also one of my favorite vegetables! It has a divine flavor and is so versatile. Your refined tasting soup looks amazing. A wonderful combination of ingredients.

    Like you, I hate February and love March...



  3. Looks so appetizing! Never tasted fennel, I so want to try it out...

  4. Fennel is a wonderful vegetable and perfect for so many items. Your soup couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Our oldest daughter has to have mouth surgery and can only have soft foods for two weeks. She adores fennel so this will definately become a favorite.
    It is also still a bit cold here, yesterday we had to have jackets on, it only got to 70 degrees :)

  5. This is such a wonderful looking soup with so many delightful flavors! Looks lovely!

  6. Love a good soup and your photos of it makes my mouth water.

  7. Roasting and caramelising vegetables is hands-down the best way to bring out their flavour if you ask me - so I can just imagine how wonderful this soup must be! Love the contrasting flavours of the sweet fennel and the salty salmon. Inspired!

  8. Wonderful soup!! Would surely like to give it a try. Can I replace pernod with any wine?

  9. Meeta, that second picture (of the soup) is stunning!

    Big big flavours here! Love it!!

    Toby. xxx

  10. I love how our seasons are so opposite! March is a time for us to start thinking about comforting braises and casseroles. As a fennel lover this dish sings a beautiful tune! Love the idea of the salmon too!

  11. As you know the seasons in Dubai are bearable, unbearable. Thankfully in the former category still! Fennel is a lovely vegetable but one that shines when fresh from the field and disappoints from the mass produced greenhouse, in my opinion. A dash of pernod helps the inferior kind no end. Lovely recipe and pics.

  12. Thanks for all the comments! Glad to hear so many of you like fennel! An amazing vegetable.

    ANON - Pernod has a very distinct taste that cannot really be replaced by wine. Arak/Ouzo would be the counterparts. You could add a few more anise seeds and maybe use a dry Riesling for the soup - but the taste will be slightly different.

  13. This soup sounds comforting and as smooth as velvet ~ I've never thought about roasting fennel, but what a fabulous idea and I adore everything about smoked salmon so I will certainly have to attempt making this soup :)

  14. Funny how I've never cooked with Fennel at home though it intrigues me so much..
    Your photographs are always beautiful Meeta.. Just love them!

  15. Beautiful Flavours in the soup. I can never say no to a nice fennel salad either. Funny how you are headed for warmer weather and we are putting on jumpers for a very chilly start to Autumn :-)

  16. Such lovely flavors of this soup..fennel paired with salmon is a hit!

  17. I am craving for fully throttled Spring as well. Love the flavors of fennel soup :)

  18. I can't wait for the asparagus and artichokes of spring but lately I've been having quite a love affair with fennel myself!

  19. I loved your last post and I LOVE this post too! Fennel is my favorite. It is so good with fish. Beautiful!

    I'm so glad I connected with you (was it on Twitter?). And I'm so glad you keep on blogging. It's on of my faves. xoxo

  20. Mmmm that looks delicious! I love your styling of the soup [:

  21. I love fennel and pernod too, may skip the salmon though.

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  22. It seems we both had fennel on our minds Meeta! I love it too, in it's raw or cooked, baked or whatever state. Love this soup too. I agree that it can be a little treacherous out there at the moment; I think the sun is shining so I run out of the house forgetting to put on a coat and well, hmm, it is not that kind of weather yet. Can't wait!

  23. Ooh! I have a whole bunch of fennel I want to use. I'm totally going to try this soup because it sounds scrumptious!

  24. Just did it for dinner a REAL success perfect taste but it s for 6 only for starters though!

  25. i have tried your recipe!!it was awesome!!

  26. I had a very similar soup, only with crab instead of smokes salmon, years ago...I found your recipe and made´s heavenly, the crab one doesn´t have the smoky thing going on but the juices of the crab with the pernod mix exquisitely! Congrats on this recipe,



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