SUMMER CORN SOUP
Americans have a love hate relationship with corn. Since Michael Pollan began educating consumers on the complex relationship between corn and most items on supermarket shelves, its reputation has suffered. This simple, delicious recipe rescues corn from complete bad boy status and puts it back in good graces—at least when consumed in moderation and only during its short summer season when local corn is in abundance. With only 4 ingredients (one of them water), this soup is an inexpensive luxury. The final step of pushing the corn through a mesh strainer gives the soup its velvety texture. There are those, however, who will choose to skip this time intensive step and slurp up a bowl of sweet summer maize fiber intact--nothing wrong with this approach! Indigenous to Mexico, this 10,000 year old grain plant soup is wonderful served in a mug with lobster rolls or enjoyed as the main course with a lightly dressed simple salad that won't compete with this subtly rich liquid wonder.
Nota bene: Sometimes the soup is just too thick to push through the strainer. Return the soup to the Vitamix and add some of the reserved corn stock to thin (not too much) and then return to the strainer. All that should be left in the strainer is a mound of dried corn fiber. Do not make this recipe with frozen corn. To avoid corn kernels flying everywhere when removing from the cob, cut the cobs in half first. This soup is fine for two days in the refrigerator.
8 ears of corn, shucked, kernels removed (reserve cobs)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1. Place the reserved corncobs in a stockpot or large enough pot to hold them. Barely cover the cobs with cold water.
2. Bring cobs to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, skimming any impurities that rise to the top.
3. Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to hold the corn kernels at a depth of about one inch, add the butter and melt it over a medium flame. Add the corn kernels and salt and cook the kernels, covered with a tight lid, over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture frequently until tender. Do not allow the kernels to brown.
4. When the corn stock and kernels are both done, cover the kernels with the stock by about 1 inch. Reserve the rest of the stock. Cook over medium heat until the corn is tender.
5. Puree the soup as finely as possible in a Vitamix, blender, or food processor.
6. Strain the pureed corn soup through a fine strainer. Use a wooden spoon to push as much of the corn through as possible. Adjust the texture with the extra corn stock and flavor with a little sea salt to balance the sweet taste of the corn.
7. Enjoy at room temperature or serve cold.