The Hungry Engineer

The Essence of Summer

30 Jul 2008

There are a hand-full of foods that make us breath in deeply and think ‘ah summertime’. For me, one of those is corn, and my favorite method of consumption is lightly buttered corn-on-the-cob. Unfortunately, after recently indulging in some hot ears of white corn on the cob, my beloved explained to me that he really wasn’t fond of the mess and hassle of eating corn that way. In an effort to maintain marital bliss but still get what I wanted in the end, I decided to go to the other extreme and make a pureed corn soup instead.

Luckily for me, there was an absolutely delicious-sounding recipe in the August edition of Bon Appetit magazine.

This recipe features a base of whole milk in which corn-cobs are simmered to extract every last iota of corny goodness. In addition to the corn, the soup is flavored with onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. There were quite a few steps in the recipe that all culminated in me pureeing the whole mess (sans herbs and corn cobs) in my beloved Vitamix until it was incredibly smooth. An important consideration when pureeing soup - hot soup being whirred around at a high rate of speed tends to create a large volume of steam. To keep yourself from being burned and to keep your kitchen from being soup-coated, do not completely fill your blender (I usually opt for halfway) and hold the lid on firmly with a towel- or potholder-covered hand. Once the blending was complete, the soup was returned to the heat and seasoned a bit with salt and pepper. The recipe recommends a variety of garnishes. For simplicity’s sake, I chose only one of them. I had picked up applewood smoked bacon from the grocery store this morning, so I fried some of that and crumbled it onto the soup (once it had been dished into individual servings).

The soup was phenomenal. It was richly creamy (despite the absence of heavy cream) and tasted like the very soul of sweet corn. The smoky bacon was a great match with the sweet soup. It was bliss. And my corn-on-the-cob eschewing spouse was suitably impressed, thereby securing this recipe’s place as A Keeper.

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