The old-fashioned technique of grating raw corn to release its milk produces a creamy corn soup that can be enjoyed from summer’s first pick to the last harvest at Thanksgiving time. The topping, made with chipotles (smoked dried jalapeños)–I get mine from Windrose Farm, adds spicy contrast to the sweet corn and is also great as a dressing for corn salad or a condiment for grilled fish or chicken. Sweet white corn has become all the rage, but my favorite is the more complexly flavored, yellow-and-white-speckled calico corn.
No-Cream Creamy Corn Soup with Chipotle-Lime Topping
Makes 6 servings
8 ears corn, shucked
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock, or 2 cups canned diluted with 2 cups water
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
For The Topping:
4 chipotle chiles
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup crema (Mexican crème fraîche), optional
Grate the corn like this; you should have about 5 cups milky pulp. In a wide pot, sauté the onion and celery in the oil and butter over medium heat until translucent and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the corn and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Leave the soup as is or puree with an immersion or stand blender.
To make the topping, soften the chiles in water for 4 minutes in the microwave or 10 minutes simmering on the stove top, then discard the stems and some or all of the seeds (the heat is in the seeds). Using a food processor with the motor running, add the garlic cloves through the feed tube and process until chopped. Add the chiles, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and process until well blended. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until blended. You will have about 3/4 cup. Alternatively, mince the topping ingredients by hand and whisk in the lime juice, salt, and oil.
Pour the hot soup into bowls. Lightly whisk the crema and drizzle each serving with an equal amount of the chile mixture and the crema.
From The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press) ©2007