Make Ahead

Chilled Corn Soup with Basil Oil

May  7, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • Chilled Corn Soup
  • 6 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Basil Oil
  • 2 ounces fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
  • kosher salt
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lauren Kelley
    Lauren Kelley
  • laura
  • Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
    Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
  • Krista Messer
    Krista Messer

8 Reviews

Krista M. August 19, 2023
5 ingredient soup impressed everyone at my book group. Simple and amazing.
Brenda K. August 19, 2021
Made this for a Girls Luncheon with rave reviews! Now need to prepare for a second luncheon on Sunday, for optimum flavor, how far in advance can I prepare the soup with storage in the refrig? Thanks
Lauren K. July 8, 2014
I'm making this at the moment -- can't wait until it's done! I just have one question. The recipe has you make 8 cups of corn stock, but then the recipe asks for 4 cups. I assume I can just toss in the rest of the stock after I've pureed everything, but is that correct?
Sonali A. July 8, 2014
Hi Lauren! No, you only need to use 4 cups. I boil the cobs in 8 cups of water because you need that much water to cover them. Plus a lot of the water evaporates as it boils. Start by adding 4 cups and then if you want, you can thin the soup out with more stock. Good luck!
Lauren K. July 9, 2014
Thank you! I ended up using all of the stock after all -- it cooked off quite a bit, and ended up being the perfect amount. I used my immersion blender to puree everything in a stock pot -- worked like a charm. Great recipe!
Colleen D. May 16, 2014
This recipe looks amazing!
laura May 9, 2014
This looks amazing. I love that you use a minimalist approach to seasonings to let the corn flavor shine. I can't wait for fresh corn this summer, must try this lovely recipe!
Sonali A. May 9, 2014
Thank you! I love the natural sweet flavor of corn and I think this soup highlights it. I hope you give it a try!