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
ears of freshest sweetest corn you can find
small shallot minced
Fresh ground white pepper
Stick, (8 T) unsalted butter
Basil Leaves, chiffonade
Fresh Ground White Pepper
very finely diced lemon zest
In This Recipe
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.
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.
Saute shallot in 1 Tbs, butter, till translucent, add corn cobs & season with salt & pepper, saute @ 2-3 minutes
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.
Add 3/4 of the corn kernels, bring back to a simmer until corn is tender, taste & adjust seasoning
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
Layout on cling film, roll into a cylinder and chill, at least 1 hour.
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.
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
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.