It's the end of the summer growing season. I am buying as much as I can of the remaining fresh corn on the cob I can find. I'm combing through the open markets and Whole Foods is still selling fresh corn on the cob at great prices.
Fresh corn on the cob and summer peaches are my favorite foods in the whole world. They're a staple in our house all summer long. I make all kinds of dishes using corn. I put kernels of fresh corn in salads, pasta, soup, salsa and grilled steak tacos with warm tortillas. One of my family's favorite side dishes is creamed corn and spicy jalapeño corn bread. I never tire of corn.
When I was expecting, my cravings for fresh corn on the cob was way out of control. I would eat at least 10 cobs a day. I'm not kidding. I would find different ways to cook and season the corn. I add a pat of creamery butter (okay, maybe more than a pat), sprinkle the corn with kosher salt and cracked pepper, and then roll it tightly in foil. I would make up different seasonings for the butter using different spices. Then I'd either boil or grill them. Or I would simply immerse the corn (after removing the husks) in boiling water for three minutes, and then slather butter and salt all over it.
When I pick the corn fresh from the garden I eat it raw right there as I'm standing in the soil. I love that feeling when you bite into the corn and the milky juices burst in your mouth and you can smell the earth.
Cooler weather is right around the corner and these tasty morsels will not be around much longer. So now is the time to make fresh corn soup and freeze it for those cold nights when you want something warm and cozy for your tummy.
Here is a recipe for a creamy corn soup that can be served piping hot in winter or cold in summer. This is a very basic and simple recipe only requiring a few simple ingredients and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. The secret to this recipe to bring out a bold rich taste is to season it with fresh herbs and crispy bacon bits.
Serves 6 to 8
- 6 slices bacon, fried until crisp and drained on a paper towel
- 10 ears of corn, husks removed and kernels sliced from cob (this yields approximately 7 to 8 cups of kernels; set aside 1 cup of corn kernels to use as garnish)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks, chopped in 1/4" rounds and placed in a bowl with water to remove grit (drain on paper towel and dry)
- 8 scallions, chopped in 1/4" rounds
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large jalapeño chopped small
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 quart organic chicken broth
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt and cracked pepper plus extra salt for garnish
Heat a medium size stockpot over medium high heat for 1 minute.
Add the olive oil, leeks, 6 scallions (save remaining 2), butter and 2 teaspoons of the jalapeño. Turn heat down to medium and sautée for 5 minutes. Add the sherry and cook down, about 1 minute.
Add the corn and mix well. Sprinkle salt and cracked pepper over the corn and stir. Add the chicken stock, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
Quickly lower heat to a low boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a hand blender or blender to purée the soup in batches. Strain through a chinoise. (That's the funnel strainer shaped like a point hat with small holes, not made of mesh.)
Pour soup back into the pot and heat through until hot. Ladle into bowls and garnish each with 1 to 2 teaspoons scallions, chopped jalapeño bits (if you like it spicy add as much as you like; otherwise 1 tsp is fine), 1 Tbsp corn, 1 piece of bacon crumbled, 6 to 7 thyme leaves removed from stems, and a pinch of kosher salt and cracked pepper.