For years I've been a fan of the ethereally light and sweet corn soups we've found at some of our favorite restaurants, you know the kind, pale yellow and silky smooth, but light and fresh, not heavy, weighed down with cream. This is my take on it. —Oui, Chef
ears of sweet corn on the cob
small fennel bulb, fronds removed and reserved, bulb washed, cored and roughly chopped
small leeks, pale green and white parts only, washed and sliced
large shallots, peeled and sliced
sweet onion, peeled and roughly chopped
cloves of garlic, peeled and split
sprigs fresh thyme, divided
sprigs fresh parsley, divided
sprigs fresh oregano, divided
sprigs fresh lemon thyme, divided
sprigs fresh tarragon, divided
sticks of butter
kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
In This Recipe
For the Corn Stock:
Cut the kernels from the corn cobs and place them in a bowl for later use. Using the back of your knife, scrape all the pulp and milk remaining on the cobs into the bowl with the kernels. Cut the cobs into 2-3 pieces and toss them into a medium sized stock pot.
To the stock pot, add the onion, leeks, shallots, garlic, chopped fennel bulb, coriander, fennel seed, and half of each of the herb sprigs. Cover the stock pot ingredients with water, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer the stock for about 45 minutes. Strain the stock, keeping the liquid and discarding the solids.
Measure out 8 cups of the corn stock and add it to a large saucepan with the reserved corn kernels, the balance of the herb sprigs (tied into a bundle), and 1 stick of the butter (keep any extra stock on hand in case you want to thin your soup a bit later). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer the soup for 30 minutes.
Remove the herb bundle, then puree the soup in a blender in batches, adding the remaining stick of butter in pieces, a little with each batch. Puree on high for at least 2-3 minutes per batch to make sure the kernels are well pulverized and the butter is fully emulsified with the soup.
Return each batch to a clean saucepan, pouring through a fine mesh strainer in the process. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding back more of the reserved stock if the soup is too thick for your liking. If your soup still doesn't look completely emulsified and smooth after its time in the blender, hit it here with a stick blender to finish the job. Serve sprinkled with chopped chives and a touch of reserved fennel frond.