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Chef Charlie has been busy with his new food focus, including more time for new recipe development, testing and eating. Sharing with you my Chilled White Corn Bisque that was served to our diners over the past week and was very well-received. For larger patches, serving 30 – 40, I used premium frozen petite white corn, but always encourage the use of fresh corn, if possible.
For this recipe, serving 4, please use the fresh. The only issue is removing the silk from the corn cob. Here’s the trick: after removing the husks, use a vegetable brush or better yet, a clean toothbrush to remove the silk… easy! To safely remove the kernels, place a cob in a bowl and using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from all sides starting from half way down the cob and then turn the cob over and finish the remaining half the same way. This technique avoids trying to cut all the way from the top which can be unsteady and unsafe.
I’m calling this recipe a bisque as opposed to “Cream of…” because it is following the new definition of a bisque as described by the Spruce Eats: “authentic recipes for bisque actually ground the shells of the crustacean into a fine paste, using that to thicken the soup. Nowadays, it is more common to use rice as a thickener. In the more distant past, the word “bisque” encompassed soups made from quail or pigeon, sometimes with chunks of crayfish meat added. However, more recently in the culinary world, it has become quite common to see the word bisque used to describe any puréed soup, whether made from crustacean or vegetable, cream-based or thickened with roux. Butternut squash bisque, tomato bisque, and mushroom bisque are what we will most likely find on restaurant menus.”
I again used my VitaMix blender to create an ultra-smooth purée which I then passed through a fine-mesh strainer (using a small 2-ounce ladle to press); retaining the solids, which were discarded. I used whole milk, as opposed to heavy cream, to lighten and reduce calories, but with the added starch from the corn, the bisque maintains its characteristic thickness.
Our corn season is at its peak and I will be sharing more corn recipes as long as the season holds out!
– Chef Charlie
Chilled White Corn Bisque with Roasted Corn, Shallot and Herb Gremolata
For the Soup:
4 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
Big pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 ears fresh white corn, shucked and kernels trimmed (or 4 cups frozen kernels)
1/4 cup dry vermouth
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt, to taste
Juice of one lime
For the Gremolata:
1 ear white corn, shucked
1/4 cup finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh oregano leaves
To Prepare the Soup:• Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions, kosher salt and sugar and sweat the onions until they are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
• Add the corn and stir to combine with the onion mixture.
• Add the vermouth to the pan and reduce liquid by half.
• Add the milk and chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 15 minutes.
• Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée well. Pass through a fine mesh strainer.
• Season to taste with kosher salt and then add the lime juice.
• As a summer soup, suggest this be served chilled (but not cold, or at least room temperature). To chill the soup, place the puréed soup in a stainless bowl and then place into an ice bath (equal parts crushed ice and water prepared in a larger bowl). Gently stir the warm soup until chilled. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
To Prepare the Gremolata:• Place the ear of corn on the flame of a stove top (or under a broiler) and roast, turning until all sides are lightly charred. Use a knife to remove the kernels into a small bowl.
• Add the shallots and herbs and stir to combine.
• To Serve: Ladle the chilled soup into bowls and garnish with the prepared gremolata.
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