This month, we are kicking off French Fridays with Dorie with corn soup! And let me tell you, when the poll went up and the number one spot dish was corn soup, I was not too thrilled. I was hoping for something that had summer fruits in it because I wanted to relish every last glimmer of hot sun on my shoulders when I took Patella out for a walk in the mornings, and watch my tomatoes grow even larger and sweeter by the passing ray – yes, rays of the sun. And yes, Doyle is doing well thanks! He is becoming red! … Ok, look for a garden update this weekend!
But I became more excited about the corn soup when I reminded myself of how much I love corn chowder, so I was certain this would satisfy that craving. And I do like to strip corn naked, down to the cob… something about it is just so… refreshing? I enjoy watching all the kernels pop off and cover my workspace – the smell is something that you wont find in a candle anywhere. And did you know that the corn was on sale at the grocery store today?? It’s like they knew! Maybe a fellow Dorista works there? … Who knows, but all signs pointed to corn soup!
I gathered the ingredients that I didn’t have, all except for fresh rosemary (out by the time I got there) and shallots (also all gone) and headed over to pick up some creme fraiche. I like sour cream and buttermilk, and dairy products in general but have never needed to use creme fraiche but I always lingered past it, hoping that I would have a great use for it some day… and that day had finally arrived! A new must-have ingredient! Love it!
Since the corn was on sale, I bought 8 ears of corn. Aside from the corn soup, I have another recipe I plan to make in the next day or two that utilizes corn also, and it was on sale… I know I bought way more corn than I needed, but I figured whatever was leftover, I could use to make a corn ceviche. Yep! We will see if that happens though – it might warrant another trip to the store to buy more corn! But it was a good thing I bought so much corn!
With the saucepan full of cobs and milk – what a great use for the cobs, if I do
say so myself, I got to work thinly slicing, peeling and preparing the other ingredients for the soup. Mei sat in her chair, sleepy-eyed but watching my every move. That is, every move when she wasnt busy twisting her torso at a weird angle backwards to reach her basket of spoons, pile of baby bowls or whatever other “toys” or kitchen items I leave out in her arms reach for her enjoyment. She is quite determined to help me in the kitchen, even if it’s not quite the help I needed….
Along the way I made a couple of additions and substitutions. Since I didn’t have any fresh rosemary (we all know how the window planter thing went…), I added some shredded celery leaves for a nice, mild flavor of celery and I added an extra half of a carrot. That is the other half of the carrot I kept myself from munching on so that there would be enough carrot for the soup. Let me just say that all the ingredients that went into the soup today were amazing. The flavor of each was refreshing and I could have eaten everything raw with a tall glass of water – it all just tasted so good!
Once everything was happily simmering away in the pot, I got out the bacon for the garnish. I absolutely heart British bacon, for those that don’t know or agree with me on that little fact. It’s just the way that it is cut, it is superior to American bacon and runs a close second to Canadian bacon (which I only like on eggs Benedict in the first place), there is more “ham” or “meat” and less fat and all around better flavor! I actually crisped a few more strips than Dorie suggests because I love the crispy bacon bits I make for the trout chowder that I make often enough in the winter time and also because I planned to strip another full ear of corn instead of just half – sure that I am going to be eating most of the garnish anyways (it turns out I was right,… I might need more garnish actually…). It was a good thing too! Because right after they were done on the frying pan, I couldn’t resist eating a strip of bacon and then sharing another half of a strip with Patella. She doesn’t get treats like this often, and it makes her happy – a nice little reward for all that waiting to go on an afternoon walk! Instead of draining the bacon on a paper towel, I immediately chopped it up and put all the drippings (there is hardly any with British bacon) in with the naked corn kernels in a bowl and mixed it up good.
Once the corn soup had simmered enough, I set it on the counter (still in the pot of course) and ran my immersion blender through it. I LOVE to use my immersion blender. I don’t know why, but I should find more recipes that allow me to use it, it is just so handy! The blender helped me get the soup to a really fine texture, although I could have made it very, very smooth by straining it – I didn’t feel like waiting that much longer to indulge in a large bowl of corn soup!
Mei was ready for her nap at this point, so we left things where they were and took Patella out for the world’s shortest walk, there was a cat at the end of the drive and really, Patella takes US for a walk after she sees a cat, so we just turned around and went back inside, after playing soccer for a few minutes that is. Over some email and Facebook time, Mei fell asleep. Comfortable in her crib, I warmed up the soup a bit, although it really didn’t need to be warmed hardly at all, and dressed it for photos and eating.
Even though I was absolutely thrilled at having to buy creme fraiche, I have never eaten it in a soup and was a bit tentative about this experience but I can now say that if you aren’t using creme fraiche or substituting in some sour cream on this soup – you are missing out! I fell in LOVE! The bacon added just enough salt to tone down the natural sweetness of the corn (we can only get sweetcorn in England anyways…) and the creme fraiche contributed a touch of tartness and a cool, lingering contrast in temperature that I can’t imagine eating this soup without! The soup without the garnish would have been mediocre at best, but the bacon and creme fraiche elevated it into anything but ordinary! I can’t wait to eat more of this soup! I plan to have it for nearly every meal this week… if it lasts that long.
I ate this soup,… ok, two bowlfuls with a couple slices of the ciabatta bread I baked fresh this morning. Heaven. Maybe tomorrow I will pick up a few fresh jumbo shrimp to put in the soup as Dorie suggested – it sounds just yummy enough to be worth a trip to the store just for a few shrimp!
If you haven’t made this yet, you should! If you would like to make this and any other recipes from Around My French Table with Dorie Greenspan and the other Doristas at French Fridays with Dorie, click here – or come check out what the other Doristas thought of the corn soup!