Roasted fennel-potato soup with Gulf prawns, thyme leaves, croutons and honey

This, soup, which is currently on the Winter 2015 menu at Café Presse, was developed by Chef de cuisine Dre Neeley.

This recipe makes 6-8 servings.


Roasted fennel-potato soup



  • 1.5lb fennel bulb with tops
  • 1 Large russet potato
  • 1 Large yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup garlic (peeled and germ removed)
  • 2 branch celery
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves (washed and stemmed)
  • 1.2 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley (washed and stemmed)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup pastis
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper


  • 12 gulf prawn (peeled and vein removed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red flaked chili
  • 2 cups fresh croutons
  • thyme leaves
  • wildflower honey


1. Marinate the prawns with the olive oil, red chili, finely chopped garlic and orange zest. Prepare the croutons.
2. Roughly chop the fennel and fennel fronds, onions, garlic and celery. Peel and dice the potato.
3. Sweat the vegetables, potato and fennel seed together in a soup pot with 1/2 cup of olive oil over low heat. Cook without coloring until the vegetables are beginning to soften.
4. Add the pastis, increase the heat and boil until almost reduced to dry, again without coloring. Add the parsley and thyme. Add water to cover the solids by about 2″, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook until very soft, about 45 minutes.
5. Add the cream to the soup, and return to a simmer. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, seasoning each batch with salt and pepper. Strain though a medium cone strainer into a serving pot.
6. Season the prawns with salt and pepper, then grill until just cooked through. Stir 1 tablespoon of cold butter into the hot soup just before serving.
7. Serve the soup very hot in warm bowls. Top each bowl with 2 grilled prawns, a few croutons, a sprinkle of thyme leaves and a drizzle of wildflower honey.
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