(recipe from the book Local Flavors used with permission of the author, Deborah Madison)

Serves 4.

local-flavors-cover-blogThe Saffron Dumplings (makes 20 small dumplings)
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pinches saffron threads
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup minced fennel greens
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs

  1. Heat the milk with the butter, saffron, ½ teaspoon salt, and a little pepper.
    When the butter has melted, stir in the fennel greens, then add the flour all at
    once. Remove the pan from the heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon to
    make a smooth paste, then return the pan to low heat and work the paste until it
    leaves a film on the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and beat in the eggs one
    at a time, until completely smooth.
  2. Bring a large skillet of water to a simmer and add 1 teaspoon salt. Drop
    Loosely heaped teaspoons of batter into the pan. Cook gently until they’re firm,
    turning once, about 5 minutes. When done, transfer the dumplings to a plate and
    set them aside until needed.

The Soup
1 hefty or 2 smaller fennel bulbs, about 6 ounces
1 bunch scallions, including a few inches of the greens
1 large artichoke
1 quart vegetable stock, light chicken stock, or water
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely snipped chives
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil to finish

  1. Quarter the fennel bulb(s) and slice very thinly crosswise. Chop enough of the greens to make ¾ cup. Trim the scallions and slice them crosswise about ¾ inch
    thick. Pare and quarter the artichoke, removing the leaves and the choke, and
  2. Put the stock into a saucepan. Add all of the vegetables, half of the herbs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil then simmer gently until the vegetables are
    tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining herbs and the
    dumplings. Let steep for 10 minutes, then pepper lightly. Serve with a thin drizzle
    of olive oil in each bowl.