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Author Notes: A few months ago, I stumbled upon Colleen Rose's marvelous recipe for Corn Soup with Tofu Larb (https://food52.com/recipes/30305-corn-soup-with-tofu-larb). It is so good (make it!) that I started to experiment with variations on it. This version of the soup makes an elegant (and secretly vegan!) first course. If you can get edible flowers, it looks even more stunning. You can make both the soup and the oil a day ahead. Make it with the freshest corn you can find! —Emily
For the soup
- 8 ears of corn, husked
- 1 bunch cilantro stems (save leaves for oil)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger
- salt to taste
- 4-6 edible flowers (Bachelor's buttons or Nasturtiums are particularly nice). Optional.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded
- 1/4- 1/3 cups olive oil (approximately)
- 1 pinch salt
- cilantro leaves from above
- Take each husked corn cob, stand on its end, slice off the kernels in strips. It will make a glorious mess.
- Put the de-kerneled cobs in a large stock pot and cover with water. Boil for at least 30 minutes to make a stock. After thirty minutes, add the cilantro stems and let cook for another 10 minutes. This will very likely make more stock than you will ultimately use.
- In the meantime, sauté the chopped onion in the coconut oil. Start over medium-low heat and keep covered, so that the onions turn translucent without browning, about eight to ten minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the grated ginger and the corn kernels and let cook for five or so minutes-- you don't want to overcook the corn!
- Then, make the cilantro oil: in a food processor, add the cilantro leaves, garlic clove, and serrano pepper, and chop finely. Add in the oil and the salt, puree until as smooth as possible. Start with less oil and then add more as needed. Then, using a fine sieve or a nut milk bag, strain the mixture so that you have a smooth oil. Set aside.
- After the stock is cooked, strain it. Put the corn and onion mixture in a vitamix blender, and add a few ladlefuls of the corn stock, puree until smooth. Keep adding corn stock until you get the texture you desire-- but don't add all of the stock or it will be too thin. Taste for salt.
- If you are making the soup a day ahead, save a few cups of the corn stock: the soup will thicken and you'll want the stock to thin it out.
- To serve, heat the soup, ladle into shallow bowls and, using a small spoon, carefully scatter droplets of the cilantro around the surface (stir before using), and then add the edible flowers if you have them. You won't need all the oil, and leftovers can be used for salad dressings, to season fish, etc.