On our way back from the shore this past weekend we heeded the siren call of one of NJ's numerous roadside farmstands to stock up on bags of fresh sweet corn and some plump tomatoes, taking full advantage of the Garden State's bounty in an effort to make the most out of the waning days of fresh summer produce. Also, to mitigate the effects of the boardwalk fare we'd scarfed non-stop during our trip. I had my mind's eye firmly fixed on a recipe that David Lebovitz had posted a while ago for corn soup, so almost immediately upon return home I got straight to making a batch of it. I tweaked it a lot as I am wont to do, and am thoroughly pleased with the final result. I'm sure I'll be making it at least once or twice again before corn season ends. I don't want to think about those dark upcoming days...
Smoky Roasted Corn Soup
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from David Lebovitz
*4 ears corn, shucked
*1 small poblano chili, seeded and diced
*3 1/2 cups water
*1 bay leaf
*1-2 thickly cut slices of good bacon, diced small
*1/2 small onion, diced finely
*2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
*Smoked paprika, to taste
*1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Tabasco
*1/4 cup heavy cream
*Sliced scallions and basil leaves, for garnish
Heat the oven to 375. Put the water in a pot on medium. Spread the diced chili pieces on a large baking sheet, then slice the kernels of corn off the cobs over the sheet so that it'll catch the kernels as they fall. Drizzle the kernels and chili bits with a good glug or two of EVOO, smatter with salt and pepper, toss well, and set in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring a couple times during cooktime. Chop the cobs into pieces and put in the pot with the water, a bay leaf, and a sprinkle of salt. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to med-low and cover. Simmer for the duration of the corn roasting time.
Meanwhile in another pot, fry the bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon. Saute the onion for a few minutes in the fat, then add the garlic and a sprinkle of salt and continue to saute for another minute. When the corn mix is done, add to the pot with the onions and garlic, then strain the cob-water into the pot as well. Add a dash or two of paprika and the chipotle Tabasco; taste for seasoning. After it simmers for a bit, pour in the cream and once again taste for seasoning. With an immersion blender, blitz the soup just a few times to add more body to it, then let it simmer for a good 30 minutes or pop in the fridge to be heated up the following day. It's crack when fresh, but even more addictive when given time to let the flavors carouse around together. When you're ready to serve, garnish each bowl with basil leaves and sliced scallions.