Herbed Corn Soup

SUBMITTED BY CHEF TONY MAWS OF CRAIG ON MAIN, CAMBRIDGE MA AND THE KIRKLAND TAP + TROTTER,  SOMERVILLE MA
PHOTO BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

I learned a version of this corn soup from Chef Ken Oringer when I was sous chef at Clio. It’s a fantastic way to have the full corn flavor—we cook the corn in corn stock and nothing is lost. It’s truly delectable. At the restaurants, we generally get our corn from Verrill Farm or Kimball Fruit Farm.

Serves 10-12

Ingredients:
12 ears local sweet corn
1 small leek, sliced thin
6 shallots, sliced thin
½ fennel bulb, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch marjoram
1 teaspon fennel seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 ½ sticks butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 small bunch chives, minced

Shuck the corn and remove the kernels from the cobs with a knife, reserving the cobs. Scrape cobs with the back of your knife and collect the corn milk in the bowl with the kernels; set aside. Cut cobs in half and place in a stainless steel, non-reactive pot with ½ the leek, 3 shallots, fennel, onion, garlic, spices and half of the herbs. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and cobs, season with salt and pepper, bring to boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes. Strain the corn stock and pour back into the pot.

Tie the remaining herbs into a sachet bundle using cheesecloth, or just tie them together with a length of twine. Place corn kernels in the pot with the strained stock, adding a bit of water if the liquid doesn’t cover the corn. Add 1 stick of butter and the herb sachet, then season to taste. Bring to gentle simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove herb sachet and blend soup on high speed in batches, adding remaining butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, and seasoning to taste. Be sure to blend each batch for a few minutes to pulverize the corn kernels. Pass through a strainer or the fine disk of a food mill for a very fine soup (a high-performance blender, like a VitaMix, will make the soup super-creamy without straining).

Serve hot with a sprinkle of chopped fresh chives.