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Buttermilk Cabbage Soup With Black Walnut "Pesto"

['6 tablespoons black walnut pieces', '4 teaspoons apple cider', 'Salt', '1 small (1 pound) head green cabbage', '2 tablespoons butter', '1 medium white onion, diced', 'Salt and freshly ground black pepper', '3 cups chicken broth', '3 cups whole fat buttermilk at room temperature']

In a small heavy skillet over medium heat, toast the black walnut pieces, shaking the pan, until they just begin to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
Put the toasted walnuts in a blender, add the cider and a large pinch of salt, and pulse until a loose, grainy paste is formed. Remove the pesto from the blender and set it aside.
Split the cabbage in half, remove the core, and cut each half into 4 wedges. Slice the wedges into thin strips.
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and sauté the onion until it just begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and a few pinches of salt, and stir well to coat with the butter.
Add the broth and bring to a lively simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the buttermilk. Return it to very low heat and warm it slowly, stirring as you do, so the buttermilk doesn’t curdle.
Serve the soup in individual bowls with a tablespoon of the black walnut pesto in the center of each serving. Pass the salt and pepper for additional seasoning.

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