From Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons
To toast walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 9 minutes or until the nuts are golden and smelling toasty. Remove, let cool, then, if you’re up for it, transfer to a tea towel and rub away the skins. Then transfer nuts to a sieve and shake to remove the papery skins. Alternatively, toast in a skillet over medium heat until golden—watch closely.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 head celery (about 1.5 lbs.), cut into 1-inch pieces, leafy tops and centers chopped and reserved
- 1 to 2 small onions, diced to yield 2 cups
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 /2 to 1 cup heavy cream
For the garnish:
- 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped, lightly toasted walnuts, see notes above
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- flaky sea salt such as Maldon, if you have it, or kosher salt
- Put the butter, celery and onion in a large pot over medium heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook the vegetables slowly until they have begun to soften and release their juices, about 8 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown at all.
- Add the stock or water, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook until the celery and onion are completely tender, about 30 minutes. Let the soup cool a bit, then process in a blender or food processor to make a smooth puree. You might need to do this in batches. Alternatively, use an immersion blender.
- Meanwhile, place the currants in a small bowl and cover with the 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup hot tap water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain.
- Toss together the reserved chopped celery leaves, the toasted walnuts, plumped raisins or currants and celery seed in a bowl and moisten with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt to taste. Toss. Taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Return the puree to the pot, add the cream, starting with 1/2 cup, and bring everything to a low simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften the raw cream flavor. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cream if you wish, and simmer further. Divide into serving bowls and top with the walnut-raisin mixture.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cream, celery, soup, simple, walnut, salsa, currants, winter