Fresh fennel’s distinctive, delicate flavor makes this soup taste a lot more sophisticated than it actually is. You can always doctor it up with crême fraiche, yogurt, or a squeeze of lemon juice, but I’m usually pretty happy with its savory simplicity.

2 Tbs./30 ml. olive oil
1 lb./500 g. fresh fennel bulb (2 medium), trimmed and cut into chunks (save the fronds for garnish)
1 medium onion, diced (1½ cups)
1 medium starchy potato, peeled and cut into chunks (6 oz/150 g.) (Yukon gold is good)

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the potato and 3 cups water, and season with ½ tsp. salt. Cover, and simmer over medium low heat, or until the fennel is soft.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve garnished with fennel fronds and a sprinkling of toasted nuts, if desired.