Aw, shucks — a soup for end-of-season corn
Hot-weather produce is waning, and I’m savoring corn on the cob like it’s going out of season. Because it is. My family, however, isn’t sentimental about vegetables. They fail to see the everyday miracle of the first bite of corn — the one that tells you that the ear is sweet, the texture is crunchy-juicy, and you get to spend another meal holding summer in your hands. So instead of serving corn cobstyle for the gagillionth supper in a row, I’ve made a roasted corn soup that’s packed with summer flavor and foreshadows cooler temps to come.
First, decide how you want to roast the corn. If your grill is already hot, toss water-soaked ears, husks and all, on a medium fire for 20-ish minutes, turning frequently. If you’ve just washed your hair and don’t want it to smell smoky, you can get the same effect by roasting corn kernels in the oven. Remove the kernels by holding a shucked ear on its end, and use a sharp knife to slice down the sides. I like to rest the corn in the center of a Bundt cake pan, whose high edges corral rogue bouncing kernels. Then cook the kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet for all of the roasted flavor and none of the extra shampooing. Whichever method you use, be sure to reserve the cobs after you’ve relieved them of their kernels. You’re going to boil those cobs in the vegetable broth to infuse it with deep corn yumminess.
The broth is the foundation of this dish, so use one of high quality. I always suggest making your own, particularly if you are watching your sodium intake. Deepen the vegetable flavors by adding sauteed onions, carrots and red bell peppers. Back in my premiddle-aged-metabolism days, I would have sauteed my veggies in several glugs of oil. Now that I’m a calorie-counter, I experimented with how little hearthealthy olive oil is really necessary (which is, quite possibly, the saddest game ever). Sauteing veggies in only 2 teaspoons of oil is possible, but you need to be vigilant with stirring. If any
Boiling the cobs in the broth adds to the soup’s corn flavor.