I am a corn fanatic.
I only eat it on the cob (or occasionally in a salad where I know the kernels have just been cut off moments ago.) I only eat it on the same day it was picked, otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no point. I always eat it boiled (not grilled) for 3 minutes, with no salt or butter. And I pretty much only buy it from one or two farms in Bridgehampton, NY, though I have been known to begrudgingly make an exception or two here.
So the happiest day of my culinary year is when the corn shows up on the farm stands. And the sad time, which is now, is when the cobs start getting smaller and the end is in sight.
To mitigate my sadness, I bought well over a dozen ears last weekend, ate a few of them almost raw, and then made the rest into corn chowder, which I will be able to eat for days on end and even potentially freeze to enjoy much later on, when the temperatures are low and the vegetable pickings are slim.
I started with this recipe for Summer Corn Soup from the NY Times Cooking site (thanks, Elaine Louie) and then went left of center, adding bacon and chicken broth to the mix. I’m sure any version that is even close to this will be delicious, as long as you start out with high quality corn. Which means this might be your last week, so get on it!
Corn Soup To Honor The End Of Summer
6 slices bacon
12 ears corn
1 clove garlic
2 red bell peppers
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
6 basil leaves
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 to 2 tablespoons salt, to taste
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, optional
Husk corn. Dice onion and mince garlic. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, discard seeds and dice. Chiffonade basil leaves.
For the corn stock, cut kernels off corn ears and reserves cobs. In large pot, combine cobs, bay leaf, peppercorns, 1 pinch salt and 16 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cook bacon in a heavy stockpot and remove when done, leaving 2 Tbs of bacon fat in the pot. Break up the bacon into bits and reserve. Add onions and let simmer for 5 minutes or so, until they begin to soften. Then add peppers, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 and 1/2 minutes more, until garlic is golden but not brown. Increase heat to medium, and add butter and corn kernels. Add a tablespoon salt, pepper to taste and stir for about 4 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add 5 cups corn stock and 1 cup chicken stock. Stir broth. Add heavy cream and stir. Cover pot and lower heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
Take 4 or 5 cups of the soup, vegetables and all, and puree it in a food processor. Add the newly pureed batch into the pot with the rest of the soup (this adds body, but you still get to munch on the individual kernels of corn.) Add more salt and pepper to taste and, if desired, smoked paprika. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with basil.
You will not be bummed.