This versatile soup is the essence of summer. Dairy free and nearly fat free, it showcases the pure, sweet taste of summer corn and can be served hot or at room temperature. A garnish of summer vegetables, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces, makes this soup your own unique creation. Try zucchini or summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, or mushrooms, alone or in combination.
If you leave out the corn kernels and don’t thin the soup with the corn stock, this becomes a luxurious sauce for seafood like halibut, tilapia, or shrimp. —Chef Sam
4 to 6 ears of fresh corn, shucked and silk removed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
Grilled vegetables of your choice:
zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms
1. Cut the corn off the cobs and set aside.
2. Place the cobs in a large pot and just barely cover with water. Bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the stock has a rich corn flavor. Strain the stock and set aside.
3. Reserve 3/4 cup of the corn kernels and place the remaining corn in a blender. Blend, starting on low speed and increasing the speed as the corn purees. You can add a little of the corn stock to get the corn started. Blend on high for 45 seconds to a minute.
4. Pour the pureed corn into a medium saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bits of skin. Add the thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. You do not want the soup to boil. As the soup heats, the natural starch will begin to thicken the soup. Once the soup has thickened, add the lemon juice and the reserved corn stock little by little until the soup reaches the desired thickness. You should have 4 to 6 cups of soup. Add salt to taste.
5. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat; add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil begins to smoke, add the reserved corn kernels and do not stir until the corn has a nice brown color. Stir the corn and then remove it from the heat. Add the seared corn and any other grilled vegetable of your choice on top of the soup and serve.
Serves 4 to 6
Copyright © 2012 by the National Park Foundation
Photograph © 2012 by Quentin Bacon Photography