I've decided to do a few more recipes featuring corn, specifically the use of corn juice. Mostly because there is still an abundance of remarkably sweet corn at the market, but also because I think the technique of making corn juice is an interesting one. It has a range of applications, including its use here as a thickening/flavoring agent for soup. I hope everyone likes corn, because my next post will also feature corn juice, but in a different context.
As I mentioned at the end of my white corn agnolotti post, I made corn stock with the leftover cobs from the agnolotti. Basically, 6 ears of corn are simmered for 45 minutes with an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, some thyme, coriander seeds and 2 quarts of water. This serves as the base of the soup.
Sweet Corn and Mushroom Soup
adapted from Live to Cook by Michael Symon
6 ears corn
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup seared mushrooms (notes below)
½ cup crumbled cooked bacon
Cut the kernels from the corn cobs and reserve half of them. Purée the other half of the kernels in a blender and run through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the liquid (corn juice) and discarding the solids.
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sweat until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the other half of the reserved corn kernels and sweat for 3 minutes more. Add the thyme, corn stock, reserved corn juice and cream and simmer for 45 minutes.
To serve, spoon the soup into a bowl and garnish with the seared mushrooms, bacon and a drizzle of olive oil.
Quick blurb about mushrooms. Couple tips for properly cooking mushrooms. First, the pan should be quite hot - the oil should shimmer, but not smoke, before the mushrooms are added. Second, cook the mushrooms in batches, seasoning each batch with a little salt and pepper. Using a large skillet, a pound of mushrooms should take three to four batches. You should be able to see a decent portion of the pan. There should be space between the mushrooms, and every mushroom should be in contact with the pan and not resting on another mushroom. Turn the mushrooms individually with a pair of tongs, ensuring crisp, brown, seared edges on both sides of each mushroom. After the mushrooms are cooked, saute a few sprigs of thyme along with a couple of garlic cloves and shallots (thinly sliced), until tender. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, and when it has melted, add the mushrooms back to the pan, and toss to combine. Remove the thyme sprigs.
By using a hot pan and avoiding overcrowding, the resulting mushrooms will take on a nice sear, resulting in a nuttier mushroom flavor, and a superior, slightly crispy around the edges, texture.