Corn Soup with BasilĀ Butter

July  6, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a light soup infused with the essence of corn, its not creamy which tends to surprise people who are used to corn chowders or creamed corn type soups. But it tastes like corn, corn and basil basil and corn, its summer in a bowl, clean sweet green lush. It can be served hot or cold, if you are serving it cold, melt the butter and pour in over just as your serving, so it has a chance to get into the soup, or you could substitute basil oil. Be warned it does not last more than a day or two in the fridge (I guess you could freeze it), it ferments quickly ( I suppose you could start a batch of moonshine with it if that happens) You could bump it up to entree level with the addition of some seafood, Lobster would be phenomenal, crab or a fat sea scallop would work as well. I'm posting a pic of a version I made for an event last summer, its all Bobby Flayed up with Basil & Hot Chile Oil, once the weather gets below 100, I'll get some corn stock going. - Aliwaks —Aliwaks

Test Kitchen Notes

"A light soup infused with the essence of corn" is an apt introduction to this fresh soup. The directions are very clear and exacting in technique. However, in terms of amounts the recipe is more cleverly intuitive. For example, you simply cover the corn cobs with water in the pan, and of course that is a great amount of water right there, however much it turns out to be! Later, you use 3/4 of the kernels in the soup, reserving the last 1/4 to caramelize in butter. However much corn you have, all will be well. The natural thickening of the corn creams this soup. The added layer of basil butter is a rich touch. I really love how fresh the corn taste remains. Corn rises to a new level of delicacy with this soup. - Sagegreen —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Corn Soup
  • 8 ears of freshest sweetest corn you can find
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup Basil, Chiffonade
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground white pepper
  • Basil Butter
  • 1 Stick, (8 T) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Basil Leaves, chiffonade
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground White Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Shallot
  • 1 teaspoon very finely diced lemon zest
  1. Corn Soup
  2. Shuck and clean corn well, the get about removing the kernels from the cobs. I've found the safest way to do this is to 1) Use a very sharp knife 2) cut cobs in half 3) set flt surface on sturdy cutting board and run your knife down cob from top to bottom.
  3. Clean off board and place corn kernels in a bowl, Holding the cobs over the bowl go back over the corn cobs with the opposites side of you knife, to push all the milk and tiny leftover bits out.
  4. Saute shallot in 1 Tbs, butter, till translucent, add corn cobs & season with salt & pepper, saute @ 2-3 minutes
  5. Cover with cold water bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and set the pot a bit off to the side of the burner and simmer for @ 45 min., remove cobs.
  6. Add 3/4 of the corn kernels, bring back to a simmer until corn is tender, taste & adjust seasoning
  7. In a separate pan melt remaining 2 Tb of butter, add remaining corn kernels, season and saute until s few of them get a bit brown and caramelized remove from heat & stir in chiffonade of basil.
  8. Using an Immersion blender (if you use a regular blender do this on small batches) puree the corn soup till fine. A gentler route, would be to pour the soup through a food mill with a fine setting, if you do this you can skip the next step
  9. Strain the puree using chinoise or fine strainer, pushing what ever corn bits you have left in there well to get all the juices, you should be left empty lifeless hulls.
  10. Ladle soup in bowls, swirl with Basil Butter, place a equal amount of the sauteed corn & basil in the center of each bowl. If you are adding lobster or crab, pile that atop the corn and drizzle with melted basil butter. Garnish with a basil leaf and grilled bread rubbed with tomato, garlic & basil.
  1. Basil Butter
  2. Mix every thing but the basil in food processor, then mix in basil by hand. ( or let butter soften slightly and do the whole thing by hand)
  3. Layout on cling film, roll into a cylinder and chill, at least 1 hour.
  4. Basil has propensity towards turning black when it is mishandled, in each part I've suggested a chiffonade, this is the best way to have the least amount of trauma to the leaves, with the a relatively small amount of cut surfaces it should stay nice and green. If you are going to make the butter a few days in advance , you may want to consider blanching it first, the chopping it up in to a fine mince. To do that plunge the leaves in to boiling water and then immediately scoop them out again and set in a ice bath.
  5. To chiffonade basil: pile about 10 leaves on top of each other about 10 leaves up into a cigar shape, and using a very sharp knife slice diagonally from the tip to the end, You will end up with ribbons of basil, which is exactly what chiffonade means
  6. This butter is amazing on straight up corn on the cob, over grilled chicken or fish, whisked into scrambled eggs or on toast underneath a fat slice of tomato.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sagegreen
  • Jennifer Ann
    Jennifer Ann
  • thebackyardchef
  • Sunchowder
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

10 Reviews

EB L. August 2, 2012
Added dash of cayenne & old bay seasoning at end. Also did not strain and it was a wonderful light summer soup.
jonahgail July 24, 2011
This was such a beautiful soup....pure essence of corn spiked with basil....ahh, summer bliss ! I served it warm for dinner and cold for lunch the next day... I preferred it warm, but cold was quite refreshing on a blisteringly hot day !
Sagegreen August 27, 2010
Very clever techniques. And so truly fresh corn tasting!! Lovely. Thanks for a great recipe.
Jennifer A. August 22, 2010
Can you see me smiling? I am enjoying a big bowl of this lovely soup in now (with just a tiny drop of cream). So delicate and elegant. I will definitely make again - next time for guests.
thebackyardchef August 19, 2010
I really like this recipe, and I think your suggestion of adding seafood to it is right up my tastebud alley...looking forward to making this one!
Sunchowder August 17, 2010
This looks really wonderful, I also leave the cobbs in my soup--this is a keeper!
I love this one! My husband loves corn soup but I don't want all the cream that typically makes it so yummy. This is a wonderful alternative and I had never thought to leave corn cobs in to make a base for the soup. LOVE this tip!!! I'm definitely making this one. And this is exactly how I make my basil compound butter too! Yum!
AntoniaJames July 7, 2010
It's nice to see that someone else makes stock with their fresh corn cobs. I always do that for my fish and corn chowder, which is a real favorite here. It gives real depth to the corn flavor in the soup. (I also use a bit of rich chicken stock, but not to much, for the aromatics.) Brava!! ;o)
dymnyno July 6, 2010
Yummmm...sounds so light and delicious!
aargersi July 6, 2010
This sounds REALLY good. I mean really really good. Saving.