Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Corn and Basil Soup- Hall of Fame

Confession: I've never actually cooked this soup. But I've eaten it many, many times. My husband has taken this on as the only soup he cooks. I initially ate this soup back in the late 90s in that fabulous few years of full-time wage before child, when we could eat out at fancy restaurants with ease. I remember a wonderful evening at the now defunct central Sydney restaurant Banc. It was served there as an amuse geule. And it was astonishing. It can apparently be served warm or cold, but I've only had it warm, so will have to try it cold sometime. We love this soup so much we bought little cups just to serve it in. Now that's devotion.

We bought the Banc cookbook solely to get access to this recipe. It remains the only recipe we have used from the book, which is filled with time-consuming restauranty recipes for delicious things that aren't quite right for family dinners. In the recipe introduction they say they were often asked for seconds or an entree sized portion by enthusiastic diners.

Sweet Corn and Basil Soup

Serves 4 (makes 1 litre or 1 3/4 pints)
4 fresh corn cobs
200g (8 oz) diced onions
50mL (3 1/2 tbsps) cream
50gm (2 oz) diced butter
1 small bunch fresh basil
salt and freshly ground pepper

The stock.

Peel and remove all the outer leaves and stalk form the cobs. Using a knife, remove all the corn kernels from the cobs and reserve, and then cut the cobs in half.

In a heavy-based pan melt half the butter and add half of the diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes on a medium heat without allowing it to colour. Add the cobs and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further 5 minutes without browning. Add 1/5 litres (2 1/2 pints) of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the stock to infuse for a further 30 minutes before passing it through a fine sieve, discarding the cobs and onions.

The soup.

The spattered picture in the book

In a heavy based pan melt the remaining butter and add the remaining diced onion. Sweat the onion for 5 minutes on a medium heat without allowing it to colour. Add the corn kernels and a good pinch of salt and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the corn stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the corn kernels are tender. Pour in the cream and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat and blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Add roughly chopped basil, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Leave the soup for an hour, or even overnight to allow the flavours to infuse, before passing the soup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the corn to extract as much flavour as possible. Taste-check the seasoning once again. Serve either hot or chilled.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.