Corn has been in abundance here in Virginia, and Eric and I have had no problem taking advantage of it. In fact, you’ll likely be seeing a few more corn related posts from me before summer is over. After getting a massive amount of corn at the farmers market, soup wasn’t the first thing on my mind. Thankfully, Eric, who has no prejudice against eating soup in the summer, is the one that found this recipe. Although, since making a tasty batch of Roasted Tomato Soup last month, I’ve realized I am capable of eating soup during the summer (something I always refused to do when we lived in Florida). This delicious soup has all but cured me of my prejudice against eating soup during the summer.
Eric and I learned something new when making this soup – that corncobs can be cooked to extract more flavor. Who knew? We certainly didn’t, but thankfully Dorie Greenspan did. Between the cob-steeped milk and the fresh corn kernels, this soup was the perfect way to showcase the fresh corn. With a simple topping of bacon, green onion, corn kernels and a touch of cayenne pepper, this soup is elegant and delicious. It’s a great way to use corn while it’s still in season, and I’m sure we’ll be making this one again before summer ends.
Summer Corn Soup
3 cups whole milk
3 ears fresh corn, kernels cut from cobs, cobs broken in half and reserved
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups water
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
ground white pepper
2 thick bacon slices, diced
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels
1 green onion, thinly sliced
pinch of cayenne pepper
-In a medium pot, bring milk and corncobs to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep.
-Melt butter in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and a sprinkle of salt and sauté for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Do not allow onion to brown.
-Add corn kernels, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
-Add water, herb sprigs, bay leaf and milk (including cobs). Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
-Cover partially, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
-Meanwhile, prepare garnish by cooking bacon in a small skillet over medium heat. Once crisped, remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
-Transfer bacon to a small bowl and add corn, green onion and cayenne. Stir to combine and set aside.
-Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard corncobs, herb sprigs and bay leaf.
-Working in small batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain soup back into dutch oven or saucepan, making sure to press on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
-Place soup over medium heat to rewarm. Transfer to serving bowls and add garnish.
*Soup can be made up to one day in advance. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish can be made up to two hours in advance and left at room temperature.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan in Bon Appétit, August 2008