This soup uses fresh, summer corn- one of my favorite vegetables. I don’t use any strong seasonings because I want the pure, sweet corn flavor to shine through. To infuse the soup with extra corn flavor, I make a quick corn stock by boiling the corn cobs in water. If you don’t have time, you can skip this step and use vegetable stock but the extra step is worth the effort. Because the natural starches in the corn thicken the soup, you don’t need to add any cream, which keeps this soup very healthy. I just stir in a little milk at the end to round out the flavors. I garnish the soup with charred corn kernels and homemade basil oil but you can also garnish with fresh herbs (like basil or cilantro), chopped avocado, radish or sliced almonds. Serve the soup in a bowl or for a fun presentation, serve it in shot glasses. —Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
Chilled Corn Soup
medium ears corn, shucked
grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set them aside in a bowl. Make a corn stock by placing the corn cobs in a large pot and adding 8 cups water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.
While the stock is simmering, make the garnish. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add ½ cup of the corn kernels to the dry pan and cook for a few minutes until browned and slightly charred. Remove the kernels and set aside for garnish.
Add the oil to the pan along with the shallots and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until the shallots are softened and then stir in the remaining corn kernels. Add 4 cups of the corn stock along with the salt. Simmer 10-15 minutes until the corn is cooked. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour half of the mixture into a blender and open the lid to let the steam escape. Cover the opening loosely with a towel and puree the mixture until smooth. Pour it into a large bowl then repeat the process with the remaining soup. Strain the soup through a chinois or sieve. Stir in the milk. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt as desired. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Garnish soup with charred corn and some basil oil.
To make the basil oil, blanch the basil. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, have a large bowl full of ice water ready. Submerge the basil leaves in the boiling water for about 10-15 seconds until they’re just wilted. Remove them and plunge them into the bowl of ice water. Drain the leaves and pat them dry with paper towels to remove as much water as possible.
Place the basil in a blender along with the oil. Blend on high speed until it is pureed. At this point, you can use the basil oil as is. Or if desired, you can strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. If straining, push gently on the solids to extract all of the oil. Season the oil with salt to taste.
The basil oil can be refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.