As our days grow longer, and lighter, but we still have miles to go before peaches and heirloom tomatoes grace our markets, a bowl of soup still sounds good to most of us. So with a few key purchases, a person could get through the waning days of March in warm, inviting stead with corn soup.
I was very excited to see the combination of two of my favorite ingredients – buttermilk and mint – together with the matchmaker of frozen corn in this lovely week day recipe brought to us by F for Food.
I should say, she had me at “immersion blender.”
Further, although I love meeting people through their recipes across our great nation of food52, I was excited to learn that F for Food is a blogger living right here with me in Los Angeles, cooking soup at a very alarming rate. I am considering going to her house with a very large spoon and camping out in her front yard, yodeling and mewing for some sustenance. Or, I might just invite her for coffee. It just depends.
Culinary confessions: I don’t like black olives. I refuse to garnish. I have never until this week made vegetable stock. But I figured for this event, I ought to check out Easy Everyday Vegetable Stock, which took under an hour and would have easily been part of a one-night cooking package had I not gotten distracted by American Idol and wondering why the girl with the frizzy hair managed to get slaughtered by the high school girl who sings too much jazz.
So it was on day two that I began with that familiar, soft scent of shallots simmering along in butter, soon joined by frozen sweet corn (I have made this twice and sweet is best if you can find it) and dashes of curry, coriander and cumin. A gentle, warm scent began to rise from the stove. Before finishing this dish with buttermilk and mint, I was told to blend it up with my immersion blender.
This is where things got ugly. I slid it around, I cooked it down more, I moved left and right, but that corn would not liquefy. All of us have myriad scars of the kitchen – add hot splattered corn on the cheek to mine. This whole incident bothered me greatly, as I have always had such good luck with my immersion blender.
Heavy of heart, I went to Phoenix for work where I took a very long drive to dinner with Chef Gwen, who, after diverting me with tales of the professional baseball player she dated in her youth, broke it to me as gently as she could: corn would never emulsify in a hand blender. Something about its chemical make up and how it does not break down. I would have to involve a food processor.
So I started from scratch, and this time threw my warm corn mush into the Cuisinart, and roughly 20 seconds later it was a golden creamy gruel of pleasure. I cooked it down with a few cups of buttermilk as told, and topped it with the crème fraiche. Happy was my night, and it was all over in less than an hour. One tip – this only made enough for two bowls in this household. So double it. Because you’ll want more.
1. In a heavy saucepan sauté shallot in butter until translucent (approximately 5-7 minutes. Add corn and mix to coat corn with shallots and butter. Add vegetable stock and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add dried mint, curry, coriander and cumin. Let simmer to allow flavors to marry.
2. Blend using an immersion wand.
3. Add buttermilk, fresh mint and salt & pepper to taste. Cook down for about 30 minutes on low heat.
4. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche and serve.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).