Velvet Corn Soup
Q: Why didn’t anyone laugh at the gardener’s jokes? A: Because they were too corny! (Ba-dum-chhhh...) And now back to our regularly scheduled recipe: velvet corn soup. We sauté kernels cut right off the cob with leeks and carrots, then blend the veggies with stock, cream and seasonings. Just top each bowl of silky-smooth soup with more crunchy corn (why not?) and fresh basil for an elegant dish that’s corny in the best way possible.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch leeks, thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped
6 ears corn, kernels removed (about 4 cups)
⅓ cup white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup chopped basil, for garnish
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and carrots, and sauté until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1 cup corn for garnish; add the remaining corn to the pot and continue to cook until all the vegetables are very soft and tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.
2. Add the wine to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is almost completely reduced, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.
3. Season the soup with cumin, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, kosher salt and black pepper. Continue simmering until the soup has developed a good flavor, 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Puree the soup using an immersion blender (or you can use a regular blender or food processor) until it’s smooth. For an extra-silky effect, strain the pureed soup through a fine-mesh sieve. Taste the soup and season again with salt and pepper as desired. If using, stir in the heavy cream and return the soup to a simmer.
5. In a small pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the reserved 1 cup corn kernels and sauté until tender and lightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with 2 tablespoons corn kernels, 1 tablespoon chopped basil and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve immediately.