Chilled Corn Soup

If you’re a Top Chef addict like me, then you probably already know from the title of this post that this is the dish that Jamie Lauren (of SF’s very own Absinthe) made during an episode last season that the judges raved about. Everyone loved it so much that she subsequently added it to the menu at Absinthe.

I have to admit that when I saw this episode, I was a bit skeptical that a simple soup, mostly of pureed corn, can taste so amazing that Padma declared it her favorite dish all season. So of course, I had to try it myself! And I didn’t even have to make the trip over to Absinthe when our weekly CSA gave us a sudden flood of sweet corn.

Thanks to Jessica over at Apples and Butter for scaling down the the original recipe to one that’s more reasonable for the home kitchen!

This soup is delicious and I totally get now why the judges and Padma kept talking about it. The cold creamy soup is perfect for a light lunch on a warm summer day (see how the soup is in a little plastic container above? It’s ready to take to work for lunch!). The little dots of chili oil supply a tiny and perfect bit of heat. Sadly, I didn’t have mint in the house, so I substituted for green onions instead. But I definitely plan to find and add the mint next time around.

Recipe based on this one from Apples and Butter. The main difference is that I substituted green onions for mint and was too lazy to make my own chili oil, so I just used a premade one I had in the house.

3-4 ears corn
half stick of butter
2 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 russet potato, quartered
Salt to taste
4-5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
chili oil and chopped mint (or chopped green onion tops) for garnish

Cut corn off the cob and save a handful of kernels for garnish. Smash garlic cloves and set aside.

Heat 1/2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat in a large pot, add the corn kernels you’re saving for garnish, and fry for a minute or so. Remove from pot and set aside.

Heat the rest of the butter, add smashed garlic cloves, and fry until fragrant for a couple of minutes. Add onion and celery and saute until soft.

Add the potato quarters, corn, and a big pinch of salt. Saute for a couple more minutes. Add in stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer until potato cubes are soft. Remove from heat.

Using an immersion blender or carefully in a few batches with a normal blender (careful! hot liquid!!), puree the soup with the cream. If you’re working in a few batches, add some cream to each batch to make pureeing easier.

(At this point, you can either choose to strain the soup for a smooth texture. I actually didn’t do this because I like the chewiness of the unstrained soup.)

Chill the soup in the fridge until cold. Then serve topped with the reserved corn kernels, chopped mint (or green onion tops), and a few dots of chili oil.

(Makes about 4 servings)