The Surprising Ingredient That'll Make Corn Soup Taste Cornier

August  7, 2016

When corn season hits full stride, I get greedy at the farmers market. I load up on a dozen every time, and feast on it every which way (grilled, polenta-fied, sliced into salads, and baked into cheesy tomato pies) until I can go back and repeat the cycle, binging my way through the hottest days of summer with cob after glorious cob.

In my rush to get to the sweet, crunchy kernels, I sometimes hastily rip off and discard the silky strands and husks. Abstractly I know that the corn’s outer layers can be re-used, perhaps as a flavorful bed for smoked salmon or as a wrapper once again, like for tamales. In practice, though, they’re typically relegated to the compost bin.

Where I once saw the corn as the true prize, and the husks merely as packaging, whose re-use was more trouble than it was worth, SKK has taught me the error of my ways.

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Her soup—in which the husks are used, along with fennel frends to make a stock—already has me slowing down this summer. Now, I'm savoring not only the fresh sweet corn, but its flavor-packed wrapping, too. While making stock first might sound fussy, it’s not overly complicated or time-consuming, and you’re getting a far better final result thanks to the use of not one, but two scraps.

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Top Comment:
“Can't decide if the slightly charred husks would impart a nice smoky flavor, if it would just mute and muddy the overall purpose of this soup.”
— Megan

Her corn soup is light and refreshing, with just the slightest kick of spice to keep things interesting. As SKK says, corn is the star of the dish​—but it's able to truly shine thanks to the scrap-filled stock.

Know of a great recipe hiding in the Food52 archives that uses an overlooked kitchen scrap (anything from commonly discarded produce parts to stale bread to bones and more)? Tell me about it in the comments: I want to know how you're turning what would otherwise be trash into a dish to treasure!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Megan
  • Jennifer
  • cook4fun
  • Lindsay-Jean Hard
    Lindsay-Jean Hard
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Megan August 9, 2016
I wonder if leftover grilled corn could be used for this. Usually we have 2-3 whole cobs leftover from weekend grilling sessions, and those kernels are then cut off and just added to pastas or pizza. Can't decide if the slightly charred husks would impart a nice smoky flavor, if it would just mute and muddy the overall purpose of this soup.
Jennifer August 7, 2016
I've previously used cobs, not husks, for stock. Can they be combined? Are husks corn-ier?
Lindsay-Jean H. August 7, 2016
You could absolutely use both! You'll just need to add more water to get everything covered, and thus you'll end up with more stock, but that's certainly not a bad thing. You could use it for other soups or risotto or freeze it for later!
cook4fun August 7, 2016
Good timing, as corn hasn't come into the market yet here in Montana. What an interesting way to make corn stock. I've always used the cobs. This year I'll add the husks as well.