The school bells have rung, you’ve probably packed up the summer shack, and your orienting yourself to thinking about cozy sweaters and leaf peeping. But don’t go down that road quite yet. There’s still some life left of summer, especially at the market. Fresh sweet summer corn is still available and Nancy Lowell offers just the right recipe with which to showcase that last bit of summer splendor. Nancy writes:
It seems everywhere I turn people are tolling summer’s death knell, but as long as I can still get fresh corn, peaches and tomatoes, I know there’s still some summer left. Yes, my daughter has gone back to school, and I’m optimistic that by Sunday I’ll be able to turn my AC off for the season, but I am still enjoying summer’s bounty, and the last of it is often the best. I find the September corn is the sweetest, but that may be all in my head.
With these lingering warm days I wanted to make a cold soup, and with some leftover ears of corn I started looking around for recipes for cold corn soup. I found some interesting sounding ones, but none had the flavor profile I was looking for. I even bought some plain Greek yogurt, planning on using that in the soup to make it creamy—I found a few recipes using buttermilk, but I really didn’t want anything that tangy. Generally when I cook for The Chef’s Last Diet I don’t wing it. I try a few things, find one that works well, and tastes exactly like I want it to, but not today…
As I was assembling my ingredients I kept switching things out. The first thing to go was the yogurt. I really didn’t want that milky, creaminess. Once that was gone I rethought the flavors I really wanted, and chose a more Asian profile. I used the corn, and the typical Chinese flavors of ginger and scallion. I can still hear my Oriental (sic) Kitchen Chef, Shirley Cheng, from Culinary school admonishing us to start every dish with a mixture of ginger (unpeeled), a few cloves of garlic, and some rough chopped scallions wooshed up in the food processor. Because I wasn’t cooking this soup I omitted the garlic, I was afraid the raw garlic would be too harsh.
I’m sorry I didn’t have the ingredients on hand to make this with coconut milk, as I think that would add another layer of flavor that using chicken stock did not. I will plan on doing that next week, and update this post. If you wanted to make this vegan you could use miso broth, or some other vegetable stock. I don’t recommend mushroom stock as that would make it too earthy, and you really want the corn to be the star here. I also recommend making this a day ahead of time, as even if you start with cold ingredients as you make it, the blending will warm it a bit, and because you’re not cooking it, the flavors need some time to meld together.
This is a simple soup to prepare, and if you wanted to dress it up you could strain it to get a thinner, less coarse texture, but I like it like this, it’s more corny. So while there’s still some summer, and some summer corn left, please try this tasty soup. What is your favorite cold soup?
Chilled Asian Corn Soup
|Prep time||20 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Soup, Starter|
- 4 cups corn, cut from 4 ears of corn (make sure to use the flat side of the knife to get all the starchy juice from the ear)
- 1 heaped teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce (one TBL plus one tsp)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 scallions (1 reserved for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves (make sure stems are discarded)
- 1/2-1 cup chicken stock (or other stock)
- 1 medium slice Lime (juiced)
Remove corn from cob
Pick cilantro leaves from stems
Cut scallions into 1″ pieces
Combine corn, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, cilantro and chicken stock in a blender, Vitamix or food processor, process until you reach a creamy consistency
|Taste for seasoning
The soup will be bubbly and a bit green
Let it chill overnight, and the bubbles will dissipate
Slice the remaining scallion into thin slices on a bias
ladle the soup into chilled bowls, garnish with scallion and a leaf or two of cilantro