|(image from Seasons & Suppers, the aforementioned recipe source)|
I picked up the corn at the farmers' market--$4 for a dozen ears. Not too shabby! Though Cookie Monster and I were reminiscing about how, when we were little kids, we remembered corn being something like six ears for a dollar.
When the weather began to finally turn warm (keep in mind I grew up in the Pacific Northwest--the weather did not start to turn warm until July), I would keep my eyes peeled faithfully every time we drove on a certain highway. I was waiting for the appearance of the "corn man," a farmer who parked his truck on the side of the road and advertised his cheap corn with cardboard signs. My mom and I would always stop and pick up a ton of fresh, sweet corn. When we got home, it was my job to shuck it. I would take a brown paper bag outside the kitchen door, sit on the step, and shuck away. It's a nice summer memory.
Cookie Monster and I had previously purchased a few ears from the farmers' market, so we knew how delicious it was. I saw this recipe and wanted to make the soup with the sweet corn. Also, considering it was approximately a thousand degrees outside, I wanted something cool. (Although cooking it on a thousand-degree day was not the best idea, eating it cold in the following days was what I was going for.)
I started by cutting the corn off five ears, and reserving all the corn.
To get the "milk," the sweet corny liquid that's left, run the back of your knife down the cob. This adds a lot of extra flavor.
I then added my naked cobs to a large pot, then filled with water and brought to a boil, then turned to a simmer. This is your corn stock, and it really adds a lot to the soup. I supposed in a pinch you could use chicken stock, but why waste all that delicious corny flavor?
Though the recipe did not call for it, I started by sauteeing two strips of bacon in the pan. I thought it needed a bit more "umph," and bacon certainly adds it! After it was nice and crunchy, I took it out and reserved it. The fat is the flavor I wanted.
Then I basically just followed the recipe. I know, it's unlike me to do that, but I wanted to see what happened. You know, just for shits and giggles.
I added onion, garlic, celery, potato and marjoram (and the requisite S&P) to the bacon fat and sauteed 'til soft.
I then added the corn stock and most of the corn kernels (I reserved about 3/4 cup to add in at the end) and pureed away with my handy-dandy immersion blender. (Actually, it broke in the process. Shit! But Cookie Monster fixed it.)
I added the rest of the corn and sprinkled with fresh basil, chopped tomatoes and the crunchy bacon.
I served it alongside a delicious caprese salad composed of spinach, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar.
It was a lovely meal. However, the soup was a bit boring. I think next time I would add some more spices, such as basil and parsley, and maybe some hot sauce or red pepper flakes. I was right about adding some umph, and next time I'd add even more. But all in all, a successful corn endeavor.
Hmm. Sounds like a good band name.