I developed this recipe one hot weekend when I had loads of corn and shrimp, but little inclination to eat hot soup. This velvety, puréed soup is light because it relies on potatoes for that velvety texture rather than heavy cream, though I'm sure cream would be a welcome addition if you're so inclined! I call for Zatarain's Crab Boil seasoning, which is pretty specific, but I'm biased. Use Old Bay if you must, just don't tell me about it! —Minimally Invasive
ears corn, shucked
butter or oil
large onion, diced
large bell pepper, diced
stalks celery, diced, including leaves
cloves garlic, minced
Diamond kosher salt
large russet potato, peeled and chopped
Cajun Shrimp Salad
medium shrimp, peeled and deveined or left unpeeled
bag Zatarain's Crab Boil seasoning
small yellow onion, left whole but with roots trimmed and loose papery skin removed
head garlic, left whole with loose papery skin removed
medium lemon, left whole but with a few deep slits cut into it
Trim kernels from the ears of corn and break cobs in half. Reserve cobs separately from the corn kernels.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter or heat the olive oil and sauté onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until soft. Add water, milk, bay leaf, thyme, salt and reserved corn cobs to the seasonings. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove corn cobs from the pot and add potato and reserved kernels. Raise heat and bring to a boil again, then lower heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.
Prepare a blender for processing the soup by removing the center "plug" from the lid. In batches that fill no more than half the blender container, purée the soup on high from 30 seconds (if you have a VitaMix or other high-speed blender) to 1 minute or more (if you have a standard kitchen blender). Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to keep hot soup from splashing out. Pour soup through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or new pot; discard solids from sieve. Taste soup and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Set up an ice bath to quickly chill the soup by plugging your sink, adding lots of ice and running cold water into it to cover. Plunge the large bowl or pot containing the soup into the ice water, being careful not to spill the soup or let the water lap over the edges. Once the soup has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate it until it's thoroughly chilled.
Cajun Shrimp Salad
Following instructions on the side of the Zatarain's box, add water, recommended amount of salt and seasoning bag to a large pot. Add onion, garlic and lemon and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes to season the water.
Add shrimp to pot and immediately turn off heat and re-cover the pot. Steep shrimp in flavored water for 10 minutes (longer if your shrimp are especially large).
Drain shrimp and either refrigerate immediately if your shrimp were already peeled or peel and devein before refrigerating.
Toss shrimp with remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste with mustard and salt.
To assemble, ladle soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of shrimp salad. Optional: Garnish with celery leaves.