Ever since enjoying a lovely bowl of chilled corn soup at District Lounge some weeks ago, I have been wanting to make it. Corn is just so gorgeous right now, full of fresh sweetness, that I just knew it would be a delicious concoction. So when we were invited to a dinner party the other evening at Katie's house, I thought it might be the perfect time to try my hand at it. Soup is always such an easy thing to make ahead and transport to a friends house, and chilled soup well that's even easier!
I wanted my soup to have really fun flavors to it, all showcasing the lovely sweetness of the corn. I decided that bacon is always a lovely place to start, so I began my soup by crisping up three pieces of bacon in my large skillet pan. For an extra savory note with the bacon, I added chopped garlic, about two cloves worth, and a few twists from my pepper grinder. While that continued to cook, I shucked four ears of corn, fresh from Allendale Farms, and cut off all of the kernels from the ears.
I set aside the kernels, and cut each ear in half and then added them to a medium sauce pan with just enough water to almost cover the ears. I set this pot on the stove over medium heat and let it come to a boil, and then simmer to reduce the liquid.
In the meantime, the bacon had fully cooked, so I removed the three strips from the pan and then discarded the excess bacon grease. I left the pan to cool down just a bit, and then added another two cloves of garlic, sliced or rough chopped, with the pan on medium low heat. As these began to cook, I added the corn kernels to the pan, tossed them into the little remaining bacon grease, and added a pinch of salt, pepper, and a dried bay leaf. After allowing to simmer for about 7 minutes or so, I found that the corn had cooked nicely, and I transferred the kernels to my food processor, careful to remove the bay leaf in the process.
With the corn in the food processor, it was time to make SOUP! I pulsed the kernels into a paste like consistency, and then added the water that I had boiled the leftover corn ears in slowly. I checked it for flavor and consistency several times, adding more of the "stock" or salt or pepper where needed. Once I found the flavor to be correct, I began to transfer the puree into a chinois, and pushed it through as much as possible. The remainder of the puree, a thick paste, I put aside for later use. The soup that remained was a bit thinner than I had wanted, but the taste was fantastic. It was so sweet, but with nice background notes of garlic and bacon.
I transferred it all into a container, and, with a few accompaniments, I packed it away and we set off for Katie's apartment. Once there, and when it was time to start in on some dinner, I began to serve up the soup. I ladled in about a one and a half ladles full of the soup into each bowl, and then delicately added molded rounds of Marscapone cheese to the middle and then topped it all off with crumbled bacon, and a few dried chives (I forgot the parsley I meant to bring with me).
The result was beautiful to look at with the contrasting colors, and a really lovely to eat. The cheese in the middle when combined with a lovely spoonful of the soup, lent lovely, tangy flavor to the taste, and a great change of texture. Even more so, the bacon bits, as they floated along in the soup gave a lovely bit of crunch, and a delicious flavor echoing the slight flavor of bacon in the soup itself.
This was a lovely soup, perfect for a summer evening. It was incredibly light, and as such made it a wonderful way to start a night of delicious food. I think that if I were to make this for a bigger part of a meal, or the centerpiece, I might try to thicken it with a roux, or some type of cream base.
I can say this though- no matter what- this was a lovely celebration of late summer.