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.
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.
From Heartland by Lenny Russo, Burgess Lea Press 2016.
"Vegetables are perishable, so we don't have any indication of what they looked like 500 years ago," says James Nienhuis, a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin.