It’s August in the Midwest and if you aren’t eating fresh sweet corn, you are making a mistake. The key to delicious corn is eating it right away. After a week in the fridge, the corn will be starchy; it won’t taste good and it won’t be as good for you. I like to use corn the day I get it, so it’s at its best, and I’m at my happiest.
This morning I picked up 12 ears at Daley Plaza’s Nichols Farm stand for $6, and tonight I made soup. Million-dollar soup. Martha Stewart soup. With four ingredients (besides garnishes). Corn, butter, water, salt. Even my mother keeps these ingredients on hand. However, a soup this simple would not work if the corn used wasn’t at its peak.
Start by shucking the corn. Then slice the kernels off the cob and into a bowl.
Make sure you scrape the de-kernelled cob with the back of your knife, too. You know when dinner’s over, but you’re still gnawing on the cleaned corn cob, sucking out the last milky morsels? That’s what the back of the knife is getting—the good stuff. And you want it in your soup.
Add half the corn to a blender with one cup of water. Blend until chunky. Transfer to a Dutch oven—Martha wants you to use a “large saucepan.” I’m sure she has saucepans that are big enough to poach dinosaur eggs, but I don’t. She crazy. Repeat with the remaining corn.
Add 4 tablespoons butter (what is corn without butter?), 4 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon coarse salt over medium heat. Serve when heated through.
Sure, it takes a minute to do the prep—it took me however long it takes Alex to run a few miles—but the cooking time is around five minutes, or as long as it takes you to heat up the soup. Totally doable on any night of the week. And the soup is spectacular. A lesson in simple, clean flavors, it is creamy, buttery, rich, and sweet.
Garnish with any combination of thinly sliced scallions, a dollop of Greek yogurt, tortilla chips, fresh-cracked pepper, lime, and cilantro. (Mom, you can top with Old Bay.) We had Mexican takeout for dinner last night at Alex’s mother’s house and I saved some chips for our soup… but I put them in my bike basket with my lock on the way home and a whole lot of smashing happened. So I pulled out something jenky, literally toasting leftover, soggy tostadas. In the toaster. Please forgive my genius.