CELERY BUTTERMILK SOUP (COLD)
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 shallots, minced finely
1 small onion, minced finely
1 garlic clove, minced finely
1 small russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
6 ounces butter
Salt to taste
1 bunch celery, ribs separated, sliced finely (discard root, save leaves)
3/4 cup buttermilk, or to taste
Pepper to taste
Put the celery seeds in a small skillet over moderate heat and toast until fragrant, shaking the pan from time to time. Put the shallots, onion, garlic, potato and butter in a soup pot and place over very low heat, season lightly with salt. When the butter melts, add 1/2 cup water and simmer until the vegetables are very soft (add water as needed to keep vegetables from browning). When the potatoes are tender, add the celery, the celery leaves and celery seeds, season again with salt, add water to barely cover, place over high heat and quickly bring to a simmer.
When the celery is barely cooked, soft but still retaining its bright green color, immediately transfer to a blender and puree in batches. Strain the soup through a fine mesh sieve if preferred.
Chill the soup in the refrigerator or on ice. Stir in the buttermilk a little at a time, tasting the soup as you go. The buttermilk should not be too strong a presence, but should add just a complementary tang to the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Makes 10 small servings.
Gala´s Note: Before adding buttermilk, reduce this soup by 1/3 and use it warm as a sauce for vegetables - nice touch!