This post is intended to serve two purposes. The first is to pay tribute to one of my favorite summer ingredients–corn, sweet and fresh from the farmer’s market. The second, is to share with you a story. A frightening story that should serve as a warning to each and every one of you as you move forward in your culinary life. But not yet.
First, we’ll focus on the star ingredient of this dish. The soup and the guacamole feature corn in two very different ways, each that bring out a unique aspect of corn’s flavor. Start by cutting it all of the cob. I did this by holding the corn vertically in a large bowl and cutting straight down all 4 sides with a serrated knife.
Did you know you can roast corn and it become crunchy and sort of nutty tasting? I sure didn’t. But now I do and I shall not forget it. This crunchy roasted corn is the foundation for a unique, chunky guacamole that will go in the spicy corn soup.
Everything else in the guacamole is pretty standard…avocado, lots of lime (+ zest), onion, and cilantro. This guacamole was a great way to add texture and depth to this soup but it would also be amazing on it’s own with some chips or served over some fish or chicken. The soup was great, but I think the guacamole was the real MVP here.
The rest of the corn will go towards this creamy (yet cream free) soup. By blending the corn with onion, garlic, and jalapeno and then letting the soup simmer, an amazing sweet/spicy flavor emerges that really showcases the corn. My friend and taste-tester even said this could make the menu at my non-existent restaurant. That’s how you know it’s good.
Now, instead of nutritional highlights, I have a story to share with you. A different kind of lesson. Once upon a Tuesday, I was singing along to my new Sara Bareilles CD and choppin my jalapeno with not a care in the world. A few minutes later, I scratched my upper lip region. Barely a moment later, there was an intense burning sensation. I grabbed and ice cube and started rubbing it on the affected region, some how spreading the pain to my nose. I was certain there was an actual fire on my face. I consulted my medical practitioner, google, and per his advice, tried rubbing milk on it, vegetable oil, neosporin…just about everything I could find. Just when I was sure I saw a warm bright light approaching in the distance, the pain began to subside. You are a clever opponent Jalapeno. Next time I will be prepared. You should be too.
Fresh Corn Soup topped with Roasted Corn Guacamole
adapted from Epicurious, 2009
Roasted Corn Guacamole
- Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn, or 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
- 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
- Kernels from 5 ears fresh corn, or 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- Cilantro sprigs, to garnish
Roast the Corn for the Guacamole
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Put the corn kernels on the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Spread the corn out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the corn turns a golden brown. It may seem that you have left the corn in the oven for too long, but you want the corn to caramelize and get a little crunchy. Remove the corn from the oven and set aside.
Prepare the Corn for the Soup
Put the kernels (fresh or frozen and defrosted) in a blender.
Combine the oil and the garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the blender and puree until smooth. (You may need to pulse or stir the corn mixture in order to achieve a smooth consistency, but do not add any more liquid.)
Simmer the Soup
Pour the corn puree into the soup pot and place over medium heat. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the soup begins to thicken. Slowly whisk or stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Finish the Roasted Corn Guacamole
In a bowl, combine the roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and jalapeño. Gently stir in the avocado. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve and Garnish
Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Place a generous spoonful of the guacamole in the center of each bowl. Garnish with a small sprig of cilantro placed in the center of each.