Mary Anne here. Corn – the sweet cream of summer’s crop – has been a steady muse this August. Luscious and versatile, this soup can be served cold, at room temperature, or toasty warm when fall’s chill finally takes hold. If you do serve this warm, I suggest dishing it up alongside grilled sausages sautéed in olive oil. Alas, I ladled this out when the thermometer was a blazing 94 degrees, so I opted to add seared shrimp to my cooler concoction.
One of my favorite things about this particular soup is its simple, clean flavor. While purists strain corn soup through a fine mesh sieve, I decided not to and instead let the corn’s silky texture shine through unedited. The result is a soft puree that’s laced with the memory of whole kernels. It’s quite thick naturally, but you can thin the soup with a bit of chicken stock or even water, if desired.
For the topping, you’ll find that the corn’s natural sugar caramelizes the kernels, producing a surprisingly sweet, crunchy treat. Be patient and watch those crispy kernels roast to a satisfying golden brown. For other corny creations, check out our Sweet Corn Salad, Jalapeno Corn Fritters, Creamy Corn Pudding, Corn and Crab Soup, and Silky Buttermilk Cornbread with Walnuts.
Cool Corn Soup Topped with Roasted Corn Salad
Note: The soup can be prepared the day before.
I had avocado and frozen shrimp on hand and so I added a smattering of avocado chunks and flash-seared the shrimp in some olive oil. I also ate the leftover soup with the corn topping in its simplicity, unadorned as outlined in the written recipe. It was all good!
Tip: To easily strip corn kernels from the cob, cut each ear in half. Place the flat bottoms on a rimmed baking sheet, and using a sharp butcher’s knife, cut straight down, slicing the whole kernels as you rotate the ear of corn. The baking sheet will capture any of the “milk” released during this exercise. To further “milk” the now naked cobs, run the dull side of the knife down the sides of each cob, applying pressure as you rotate the cob. Reserve the corn milk.
Ingredients for the Soup:
10 ears of corn, shucked and stripped as directed above, about 7 ½ cups. Reserve 1½ cups of the corn for the topping. – $3.14
½ stick (4 Tablespoons) sweet butter – stock
½ cup diced shallots – $0.39
2 cups milk – stock
1 cup water – stock
the reserved corn milk
3 or 4 reserved, stripped corn cobs
For the Topping:
the reserved 1½ cups corn kernels
½ cup red bell pepper, diced – $0.53
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely diced – $0.22
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced – $0.49
1 Tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper – $0.10
pinch of cayenne – stock
salt and pepper to taste – stock
2 to 3 Teaspoons olive oil – stock
seared shrimp – optional
1/3 cup diced avocado – optional
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $4.87
Total Per Serving: $1.22
1. Prepare the soup. Strip the corn as directed in the notes above. In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter. Over medium-high flame, sauté the diced shallots until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add 6 cups of corn and any of the captured “milk,” season with salt and pepper, and sauté briefly over medium flame, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the milk and water and increase the flame to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a low simmer.
4. Add the reserved corncobs, and continue simmering until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes.
5. Remove the corncobs from the pot and discard.
6. Using a food processor armed with the steel blade, puree the soup in several small batches. This soup, as noted above, does not puree into an entirely smooth product. The corn does retain a small portion of its original integrity.
*Note: If you prefer a chunkier version, puree only half of the soup and blend with the “intact” corn soup. Alternatively, if you prefer a sophisticated, very silky rendition, press the pureed soup through a mesh sieve, squeezing out every last drop and then discard (or save for homemade creamed corn!) the remaining un-pureed bits of corn.
7. Allow to cool to room temperature, and if not serving immediately, store in sealed containers in the refrigerator.
To prepare the topping:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a medium-large cookie sheet. Spread the reserved 1½ cups of corn kernels evenly over the bottom of the prepared cookie sheet.
2. Roast the corn until a deep golden brown. It has been my experience that this can take from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the natural sugar content in the corn. Set the timer in 10-minute increments to prevent under or over cooking. This part of the recipe will definitely challenge your comfort zone, but the result is so totally worth it. The goal is to have the corn turn a deep gold, caramelizing in its own sugar. The corn fills the kitchen with its distinctive, sweet aroma when it is nearing the finish line. Allow to cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, chop and dice the remaining vegetables. Place in a medium bowl and season with the cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the roasted corn and olive oil, blending well.
4. Divide the soup into 4 equal portions and top with the roasted corn salad.