Green Asparagus Soup with Celery Seed Sour Cream and Toasted Hazelnuts

Heartland

This delicate, mint-scented soup is one of the first recipes we return to when spring arrives in Minnesota each year. I have demonstrated it numerous times at local farmers markets and in front of a camera for our local television broadcast affiliates. It never fails to draw praise from those who have tried it at home.

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cups Court-Bouillon or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed, lightly toasted
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lightly toasted hazelnuts, papery husks removed and coarsely chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and set up an ice water bath. Plunge the asparagus and spring onions into the boiling water and blanch until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water bath just until chilled. Remove and drain on paper towels. 

In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together the sour cream and celery seed, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

When the vegetables have drained sufficiently, coarsely chop them into 1-inch pieces and place in a high-speed blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary. Add the mint and court-bouillon and purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. 

For a richer version of this soup, slowly add the cream with the blender still running until well incorporated. To serve, divide evenly among serving bowls. Drizzle a little celery seed sour cream on top and garnish with the hazelnuts and chives.

Cook time: 
Yield: 
Serves 6
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