Most people can't believe there is no cream in this soup, but it's the corn juice—which thickens naturally because of its own starch—that give the chowder its rich, satisfying texture.
Servings: Makes 4 servings
  • 24 ears fresh corn , shucked
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato
  • 1/2 split vanilla bean or 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen edamame or fava or lima beans (about 1 cup shelled)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded spinach or sorrel or arugula
  • 1 tablespoon julienned lemon zest  
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Directions
    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place two ears of corn directly on the oven rack and roast, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool, cut the roasted kernels off the cob. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.

    Meanwhille, cook the potato in salted boiling water until tender in the center when pierced, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let cool to the touch. Slip off the skin and cut the potato into 1/4-inch dice.

    With a large, sharp knife, cut the kernels off the remaining ears of corn. Run the kernels through a vegetable juicer. You should have about 4 cups of juice. Combine the corn juice and the vanilla bean in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally so the liquid doesn't curdle. The natural starch in the juice will thicken it to a sauce consistency. The degree of thickness will depend on the amount of starch in the corn. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a little water or lemon juice. Remove from the heat.

    Fish out the vanilla bean and, with the tip of a small knife, scrape the seeds from the bean into the soup; discard the pod. If the soup appears a little broken, don't worry. Blend the soup in a blender at medium speed for a silky-smooth consistency. Return the soup to the pot.

    Put the roasted kernels, beans and potato in a medium saute pan or skillet with the water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until the vegetables are hot. Pour off the water and add the vegetables to the soup. Stir in the shredded spinach or other greens, the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

    Note: If the corn milk curdles during cooling, don't worry. Beat the curdled milk with an electric mixer set on medium until it returns to its perfect smoothness before you add the rest of the vegetables.

    For more from Michel Nischan, visit his website:

    From the book Taste Pure and Simple


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