Un mariage bienheureux – Crème de fenouil et haricots blancs, tartine de féta mariné

Fennel and cannellini is a very Mediterranean combination, then if you accompany it with feta, there is no more doubt about it. Fennel is perfect for soups and purées, and of course in so many other ways too. When I make those purée types of soups, I cannot help it to accompany it with a tartine of country bread and with some kind of cheese, Roquefort, ricotta, feta, goat cheese, anything that will enhance a spoonful of that sweet fennel flavor.

My favorite alcoholic aperitif being pastis, I love fennel since its sweet anis flavor reminds me of Marseille and the South of France. If you ever end up in Marseille, you have to drink a pastis, it’s the local drink and incredibly refreshing during summer time…of course if you like anis.

Technically what is the difference between a cream, a velouté, a bisque, when talking about a soup? Their main common point is that they’re thick and blended soups. Yes, in the French language there are quite a lot of words to describe “a soup” but they all have very distinct and precise meanings, there are so many nuances that sometimes it’s intricate to explain them accurately.

The velouté is a blended soup, creamy and unctuous and enhanced by cream that contains meats and crustaceans. The cream is made out of pure vegetables combined with crème fraîche.

Bisque is a velouté in which its main ingredient is a crustacean and thickened by yolks and cream.

Then of course, we have the bouillon and the consommé, which are broth based and have a liquid texture. The word soup is a generic one, and does not give you any information on the type of soup you are eating…just a soup.

I did not add cream in my cream of fennel, so technically it cannot be called “cream”, you can add crème fraîche at the end like it should, I am just keeping things light, so au revoir la crème.

Ingredients for 4

For the soup

  • 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 lb cannellini beans, cooked
  • vegetable broth
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs mint for decoration

For the tartines

  • 4 slices country bread, cut in halves
  • 4 tbs feta, crumbled
  • 1/8 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • cracked black pepper


Heat olive oil in a large pot and brown onions, then add fennel and thyme. Stir well to coat the fennel, then add broth (enough just to cover the fennel mixture), adjust with salt and pepper.

When the fennel is cooked, add cooked cannellini beans, and let the soup for about 10 minutes (adjust broth if necessary).

Remove from heat and blend in a blender into a thin mixture.

For the tartines, crumble carefully feta cheese in a container, add spices, herbs and oil. Mix carefully not to break the cheese. Toast slices of bread and top if with cheese.