Friday, September 14, 2012

creamy corn soup with zucchini & tomato

first off, please excuse the weird illustrations. i neglected to take any pictures of this delicious soup and so had to draw some things on my phone. this is not quite as easy as you'd think.

nevertheless, hopefully they won't put you off making this soup, because it's quick, easy, and remarkably delicious. mike said that i could make it every day and he wouldn't complain (the subtext of that being that generally he DOES complain. just kidding! he is very easygoing, though he will suffer neither mushrooms nor fools gladly).

the corn here is amazing right now, so it would be great to snap some up and make this asap. out of corn season, i think frozen corn would be okay, but fresh is the only way to go when it's as juicy and sweet as it is now. zucchini and tomatoes are also pretty terrific, making this the epitome of the seasonal! local! eating! thing that everyone's always yapping about.

i also added some leftover grilled salmon, but you could also use chicken or tofu to add protein and bulk it up a little. it's also great with just the vegetables. so adaptable!

first, cut the kernels off of 4 ears of corn. this post regarding a tasty corn salad has a thing about cutting up corn, in case this is foreign to you. then put the cobs in a large pan with about 4 cups of milk. i used 2%, since that's what we keep around for coffee, but whole milk would of course be more decadent and skim more ascetic, so go with your instincts. heat the cob-milk mess over medium-high heat until it starts edging towards boiling, then let the cobs sit in there while you do the rest of the things. i think this just gives the end result a deeper and more complex flavor, but obviously if you're using frozen corn it'll presumably not come with cobs and should still be fine, so if you don't want to mess with this step, just skip it! it's your corn soup party! do what you want!

it's not in the picture, but you should cut an onion into smallish dice. heat up a bit of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. also chop some garlic into little bits. you can even cut the zucchini and tomato into bite-sized-or-a-little-smaller pieces at this point as well, if you're one of those fancy people with enough room on your cutting board to do so. 

so the onion starts getting translucent fairly quickly and then you can add the garlic and some herbs. i used a small bunch of lemon thyme stems that still had a few leaves on them. it was maybe like 1/2 the size of my thumb (i like to think that i have normal-sized thumbs, if that measurement was unclear) and i changed out the rubber band holding it together for one of those wire bread bag wrapper things from which i removed the paper. maybe you have some kitchen twine or something? just don't melt rubber into your soup and you'll be okay.

i also added a couple of big pinches of dried fines herbes, but pretty much anything not too weird would go well here - marjoram, chives, a little tarragon... (so, like, the things in fines herbes)

then throw the corn in, along with the milk in which the corn cobs have been steeping (sans cobs, obvs). probably some salt and pepper wouldn't be too out of place, either. bring it to a low boil and then turn the heat down to medium-low, so it keeps simmering. let it go for 20 minutes or so. 

at this point i like to blend some of it (like 2/3) up so that the soup has a thicker, creamier texture. you could blend the whole thing like crazy, but i prefer it with some whole kernels. an immersion blender would be best here (avoiding the thyme bundle), but i broke mine a few years ago in an ill-fated margarita disaster, so i made do with the food processor (a regular blender would be better than the processor, leakwise, but i don't have one). 

finally, brown the zucchini in a little olive oil, add some cumin and then the tomato, then add the whole thing to the now-blended soup. ta da! if you have some cooked fish or chicken you could flake/shred/chop it and add it so that it heats through.

don't eat the little bundle of thyme, if you used one.

somehow this ended up tasting almost kind of coconut-y - i guess maybe from the sweetness of the corn? i did use some really superlative corn, so that definitely helps the end result. 

4 ears corn
4 cups milk
1 small bunch thyme - lemon thyme is particularly good (or some dried thyme)
other herbs
1 onion
3 or 4 cloves garlic
1 zucchini
1 tomato
1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
cooked fish or chicken (optional)

listening to: my kind of dumb/kind of awesome spotify mix of 90s-ish hip hop/r&b, so like GZA's shadowboxin', 2pac's california love, destiny's child's say my name, and tlc's waterfalls.

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