Perfect for an elegant dinner party!

2 cups ( 3/4-inch) cubes bread, crusts removed
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 pounds golden tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fennel (about 1/2 bulb)
Lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Dash pimenton de la vera, or paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (I left this out)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 cup ice water
1/2 cup finely diced fennel (about 1/2 bulb), for garnish
3 teaspoons minced fennel fronds, for garnish

1. Place the bread in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Let stand at least 30 minutes to soften. Squeeze the bread dry and put it in the blender with the garlic, onion, tomatoes and the chopped fennel. Purée until smooth. Add the juice of half a lemon, the vinegar, pimenton, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt and purée again. With the motor running, in batches if necessary, gradually add the one-fourth cup oil and the ice water. Chill well.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the finely diced fennel and the minced fronds. Moisten with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and season with a couple drops of lemon juice and a sprinkling of salt.

3. Before serving, stir the purée through a fine mesh strainer if you want a perfectly smooth soup. Otherwise, whisk it to gently reincorporate anything that might have separated. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Divide evenly among 4 to 6 chilled soup bowls and garnish with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the diced fennel mixture before serving.

Serves 4-6

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Filed under: Vegetable

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