PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY
There is only one thing I love more in the summer than tomatoes, and that is corn! I am from New Jersey and I do believe we have some of the sweetest, most lovely corn there. That being said, Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon, MA grows some super delicious corn also; it's like summer candy! I love the simplicity of throwing it on the grill with the husk off, so the kernels char and pop, and just slathering it with butter.
At Myers + Chang we blend the sweet corn with coconut milk for a perfectly creamy soup scented with kaffir lime. It is a beautiful way to enjoy local ingredients with a Thai accent. I serve this soup hot or chilled depending on my mood; it makes a fantastic chilled soup shooter for any barbeque or summer garden party!
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups sliced leeks (from approximately 2 fat leeks or 4 skinny ones)
4 cups sliced shallots (from approximately 4 big shallots or 8 small ones)
12 ears local sweet corn kosher
salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
pinch of sugar (optional; check your corn and if it’s very sweet, there’s no need for sugar)
4 cans coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves
jarred sambal chili paste, for serving
1 small bunch fresh Thai basil, for serving
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
Shuck the corn and then cut the kernels off the cobs into a large bowl. Scrape down the sides of each cob with the back of your knife to release the corn milk and collect it in the bowl with the corn.
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the leeks and shallots. Cook until just translucent, not browned in any way. Season with salt, pepper, and pinch of sugar (if using) and add the corn, then continue to cook, stirring, until the color of the kernels changes to bright yellow, about 4-5 minutes.
Add coconut milk, one can full of water, and the kaffir lime leaves and bring to simmer. If the soup looks too thick, add another can full of water. Cook the soup for 10 minutes and remove from the heat; set aside to cool about 5 minutes.
Remove the lime leaves and blend the soup in batches in a blender or directly in the pot using a stick blender until smooth; for perfectly creamy soup, you can pass it through a fine strainer, but it is lovely with some texture to it as well (a high-performance blender, like a VitaMix, will make the soup super-creamy without straining). Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.
Serve hot or chilled, garnished with a little sambal for heat, chopped fresh Thai basil, and a squeeze of lime at the table.
Karen Akunowicz is the chef of Myers + Chang in Boston, MA.