Quick, go out to the market now and get fresh corn before its too late. Yes, yes, I know, there is frozen corn year around, but then you won't be able to extract the wonderful corniness (yes, I consider that a word) out of the cobs. Our mom is visiting now and I really wanted her to try the true essence of the sweet New Jersey corn. Hence, a simple, creamy, soothing corn soup. This soup barely needs anything beyond corn, a knob of butter, a little cream, and a few shallots or small onions, which makes it perfect for warm Wednesday evening after I've been staring at the sun from the office window.
The dinner was complete with crusty bread and a salad of local tomatoes and mozzarella. There is really no good reason to mess with summer market produce.
Fresh corn soup
6 cobs of fresh corn
8 cups of water
2 medium shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons of cream or creme frache
Salt and pepper
Remove the corn husks and cut the kernels of the cobs. Bring the corn cobs and water to the boil in a large pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes to make a quick corn stock. Feel free to scrape the cobs a bit with a spatula to extract some of that corn "milk".
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and saute the shallots over medium-low heat until soft, but not browning. Add the corn kernels and let them toast a bit in the butter with a touch of salt. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for l5-20 minutes until the corn is tender and sweet. The only thing you don't want to do with this soup is overcook the corn, which can become starchy instead of sweet.
Off the heat, puree the soup in a blender or with a hand blender. Please be careful when blending hot liquids; it is best done in batches. Set a strainer over a large bowl and strain 2/3 of the soup, pressing down on the corny solids. I like to keep some of the soup not strained for a bit of texture. Return the soup to low heat, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of cream or creme frache, and season to taste with salt and a bit of pepper. The 30 minutes I spent making the soup were perhaps the most gratifying in my day.