Weird and spidery looking, yes, but wow these crispy little fennel chips are surprisingly delicious. I made them to sprinkle over anise-spiced squash and fennel soup, but these bad boys are delightful all on their own. I even made them a day ahead and they remained crispy-crunchy, which puts them squarely in the dinner party category. Love that.
The soup is equally delicious and a nice spin on a traditional squash soup with the addition of fennel and anise-seed. The color also happens to be bright and fall foliagey — perfect for an autumn meal. I followed the recipe for the most part except I used chicken stock rather than water and cooked the vegetables in olive oil instead of butter. The result was a thick and silky soup that feels like health on a spoon yet tastes as if it’s pumped up with butter and cream. Yum! This would make a nice first course for a dinner party or a very satisfying dinner when topped with seared scallops and the fennel chips, which is what I did.