Saturday, July 28, 2012

Corn, the classy way: Corn Vichyssoise

 Let's be honest.  Nothing beats corn on the cob. 

But, let's also be honest.  It is hard to look classy when eating corn on the cob. 

Enter this elegant and simple corn vichyssoise.  Vichyssoise is a take on the tradition French potato-leek soup and is often served cold (though it tastes just as good warm). 

But, with the addition of corn and omission of cream in this recipe, it is perfectly light, perfectly summer. 

(Also, I love the fact that she has you toss the cobs in while the soup cooks to intensify the corn flavor.  It's like you are using corn stock as your base).

This is also a cinch to make.

Start with the corn.

Shuck it.

Cut it off the cob, but retain those cobs!

Next up, the leeks.

Wash them well, then chop them up.

Then peel and chop a potato.
Saute the leeks.  Then throw it all in the pot.
Cook it off.  Remove the cobs.
Then blend it up.
Now, at this point, if you have the time, press the soup through a fine mesh strainer to remove the chaff.  It really does make the soup exquisite and sheer elegance.  If you are feeling 'rustic' (i.e., a fancy way to say you don't have/want to take the time), don't worry about it. 

Feel free to cool it off or eat it straight away at this point.  But, do add a fresh squeeze of lemon, it brightens it up.  Enjoy this slightly more classy taste of summer. 

Corn Vichyssoise (from Gwyneth P)
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 ears shucked corn, kernels cut from cobs, cobs reserved
1 cup coarsely chopped peeled potato (about 1 medium)
4 cups good-quality vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives (optional)

Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add corn kernels, reserved cobs, potato, and stock.  Season with salt and pepper.  Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover with lid slightly ajar, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 35 minutes.

Discard corn cobs; let soup cool slightly.  Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until very smooth.  Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, strain, discarding solids.  Chill soup until cold [if you want].  If too thick, thin with water by 1/4 cup-fuls.  Stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon a dollop of creme fraiche atop each and serve with a sprinkling of chives.