Fresh Flavors of Summer

cornsoup004a.jpgAt my local farmers' market this past week, I found some thick, hefty ears of corn that had been growing all summer with swollen kernels to match. They reminded me of the juicy ears of corn we had used at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco when we made a wonderful corn soup with a fresh tomato salsa. As soon as I saw those ears of corn I knew I would make that soup as soon as I got home.

As I visited with each farmer at the market, exclaiming over all the beautiful produce, I was able to buy the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomatillos and jalapenos that I needed for the salsa that would top each serving of corn soup.

The soup doesn't take long to make. Removing the kernels of corn from the cob is not difficult when you stand each ear of corn on its wide end in a large bowl. Using a sharp knife or an electric knife, cut away the kernels from each ear. I ran into a friend at the grocery store today who told me when he does this job, he props an ear of corn in the middle hole of an angel food cake pan and then cuts the kernels away using an electric knife. The corn drops into the cake pan.

Tomatillos, the green tomato-shaped fruits with the brown papery husks, can sometimes be found in grocery stores. Lucky for me, one of the farmers' at the market has been growing them, hoping there will be some customers who are familiar with them and know what to do with them. There is a delicious combination of sweetness and mild acidity to tomatillos with a citrusy tang. Remove the papery husks and rinse the tomatillos under warm water while rubbing off any of the sticky residue. They are always a nice addition to salsa.


Corn Soup with Tomato Salsa

5 ears of fresh sweet corn
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
4 cups milk

2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 tomatillos, chopped (if available)
2 jalapenos, minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Cream cheese, room temperature
Tortilla chips

To make soup, remove the corn from the cobs and milk the remaining liquid from the cob by using the back of a knife to scrape down the sides of the cob. Sauté onion in 4 tablespoons butter with a sprinkling of salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring from time to time, until the onion is soft. Add the corn kernels and liquid from the cob as well as the milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

To make the salsa, combine chopped tomatoes with their juice, onion, garlic, tomatillos, jalapenos and cilantro. Taste and add salt, if needed, just before serving.

The hot soup can be pureed a bit with an immersion blender in the saucepan or ladle some of the soup into a blender and process, than return it back to the pot of soup. The corn soup should not be completely smooth.

For each serving, place a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese into the bottom of a warm soup bowl. Add tortilla chips. Place a couple of tablespoons of salsa over the chips. Pour hot corn soup over all. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.


Sue Doeden is a popular cooking instructor, food writer and integrative nutrition health coach. She is the host of Good Food, Good Life 365 on Lakeland Public Television. Her own hives full of hardworking bees and her love of honey led to the creation of her recently published cookbook, Homemade with Honey.