I wholeheartedly subscribe to the summer food versus winter food kind of cooking. I just can’t bring myself to make a big pot of chili in August, nor will I ever whip up a BLT in January. It just feels wrong. In winter, I want my food to be hearty and warming, a barricade against the cold and snow just outside my door. And in summer, I want a light, refreshing meal, fitting for the temperatures and the summer activities that keep me out of the kitchen until the sun starts setting and I realize I’d better get moving on dinner. And on those late nights (which admittedly, is every night in the summer), I want something that comes together quickly.
B’s grandpa is crazy about soup. Something about it just trips his trigger and every visit to my mother-in-law results in stacks and stacks of frozen containers of soup, each icy cube containing any and every variety known to man. He just loves to make soup. And while I understand the appeal of quickly thawing a cube and sitting down to supper, it is hard for me to accept such a tummy warming dish during the dog days of summer. I’m weird like that.
My tendencies usually lead me down the path of gazpacho, vichyssoise, or other chilled concoction, ready and willing to showcase summer produce. Soups that come together in no time and are the perfect accompaniment to a sandwich or grilled chicken or fish. So when I saw this recipe for a warm summer soup, I was a bit doubtful. Fast and easy with the promise of basil and prosciutto, this summer soup recipe lured the ears of corn into my market bag and soon enough, soup was on the menu.
With garden fresh sweet corn, potatoes, onion and basil in hand, I set off to quickly pull together a midweek meal. The kernels of corn burst against the blade of the knife, sending juices and corn splattering across the counter. With a few quick chops, the veggies were ready and waiting. In went the naked cobs, adding extra corn flavor and sweetness to the simmering broth. In no time, the potatoes were tender and the steaming soup went into the blender. Pureeing the corn and potatoes created a creamy, chowder like consistency without the weight of heavy cream. Reserved corn kernels added a bit of crunch and extra sweetness as the kernels burst against your teeth. Paired with a light sandwich, this was the perfect late summer meal. And should you be so lucky to have a bumper crop of sweet corn, this would freeze wonderfully for a quick meal when the weather outside is frightful.
summer corn soup with crisp prosciutto and basil
recipe: adapted from Fine Cooking
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced into ½” pieces
4 c. water
2 c. chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 ears of corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
¼ c. finely chopped fresh basil
4 paper thin slices prosciutto
Freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a medium stockpot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add water, chicken stock, potatoes, half of the corn kernels, and reserved cobs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
As soup simmers, place prosciutto on a baking sheet and place under a broiler for 1-2 minutes or until edges start to curl. Turn prosciutto over and broil for another minute or so. Crumble or coarsely chop. Set aside.
Remove and discard cobs. Working in small batches, carefully puree soup using a blender (remember – hot liquids expand, so use care). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the reserved corn kernels and bring back to a gentle simmer over medium heat until corn is tender, about 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil and crisp prosciutto.
All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house