The anise flavor of fennel here works to balance the creamy, garlicky soup and play up the sweetness of the grape garnish. Keep the grapes attached to their stems and in their clusters for the easiest handling on the grill.
Prepare your charcoal or gas grill for direct, high-heat grilling. (Or heat your broiler to high and line a baking sheet with foil.) Brush the fennel wedges and grape bunches all over with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill or broil the wedges and grapes, flipping once halfway through, until deep golden brown all over with some charred bits at the edges, 5 to 6 minutes for the fennel, 2 to 3 minutes for the grapes. Remove the fennel and grapes from the grill or broiler and let cool.
Place the grilled fennel in a blender along with the 1/2 cup olive oil, water, almonds, vinegar and garlic. Blend until very smooth, at least 1 minute, then pour into a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Refrigerate the grapes alongside the soup.
Remove the soup from the fridge and season with additional salt and sherry vinegar. Pour the soup into serving bowls and garnish each with whole or halved charred grapes, then scatter the reserved small fennel fronds over the top. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt to serve.
Get our new Cooking newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.