Before I left for vacation, I read An Everlasting Meal by Tamar E. Adler. It’s a wonderful read if you haven’t read it already. Check out her website (linked) to watch some great videos to get a feel for what her book is about. Much of it discusses using every last bit of a vegetable, not letting anything ever go to waste.
I was thinking of this book when I bought ten ears of corn at Saturday’s market this weekend. They were two for a dollar and I just couldn’t resist. I’m such a sucker for vegetables when they first appear at my favorite market stand. I knew I wanted to make some kind of a soup with this early season corn, but I wanted to make sure I got the most flavor possible out of it. I also was crossing my fingers, knowing that my kids like corn on the cob, that perhaps a soup that had the same flavor would be appetizing for my picky kids.
I started thinking, researching and reading about corn. That’s when I stumbled upon corn broth. Of course! Why toss something in the garbage that could provide so much extra flavor? And so, that was the starting point for this soup.
Corn is always fun for the kids because they can help you shuck it. Yes, it’s messy, but kids are messy. Any way to get the kids involved can’t hurt with the hopeful end result of them trying a bite. So get them into the kitchen! Give them the biggest pot you have and have them toss all the scraps (silk and all) into the pot. (Before you hand them the corn, rip off any brown silk and discard.)
Once you have all the husks and silk in the pot from about eight ears of corn, fill the pot with 12 cups of water and bring the water to a boil. Set it to low to medium heat and let your corn broth develop for an hour. Carefully drain your precious broth for use in this gorgeous soup below. And trust me, don’t go thinking that you’ll just use veggie broth on this one- it’s really all about the corn flavor. This one is worth the extra step.
The rest of the soup comes together quite quickly, so while the broth may seem to take a while, you just need to get in on the stove earlier. You could also make the broth ahead of time and then this soup becomes a very quick weeknight dinner. Best of all, this soup can be eaten warm or cold. So if you are still suffering through the heat wave, this makes an excellent cool summer supper.
And now it’s your turn to chime in. What are your favorite corn recipes? I’d love to hear them. I’ve got to make the most of one of my kids’ favorite summer vegetables!
Summer Corn Soup
adapted from Simply Mexican
Makes 4 small bowls (double recipe if it will be the main part of your meal- I served mine along with a salad)
1 1/2 cups corn broth (directions above, using 8 ears of corn worth of husks and silks)
5 ears corn kernels cut (for soup)
3 ears corn kernals cut (for your topping)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion sliced
jalapeno (if you like it spicy- I left it out)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a baking sheet, spread 3 ears corn kernels. Toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil for about five minutes. Put in a blender with 5 ears of corn kernels. Blend until smooth.
Pour blended mixture in a pot with 1 1/2-2 cups corn broth (depending on how thick you like your soup) and heat gently for about 5 minutes.
To top your soup: in a bowl, mix your roasted corn, a tablespoon of olive oil, a few tablespoons of finely chopped red onion, two tablespoons chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime, and chopped avocado. Mix.
Pour soup into bowls if you want it warm or wait until cool and serve with two spoonfuls of corn salsa on top.