Chipotle Corn Soup

The Germans aren’t huge fans of corn – I think it’s a more a novelty or garnish that makes something ‘American’ to them (see pizza). So corn season can be a fraught, unreliable affair filled with dashed expectations.

But the corn is ok this year, so I get to try things like this! The original is here, but I tweaked and tinkered, so this is my version.

2 T butter
6 green onions, sliced thin (about 1 bunch)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 t chipotle pepper in adobo, roughly chopped
1 1/2 t salt
ground black pepper to taste (go easy – chipotle is potent)
1/2 t ground cumin
6 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)
3 c chicken broth
1 c whole milk

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat until foaming and add green onions, garlic and chipotle. Sauté until onions are tender and fragrant. Add salt, pepper, cumin, corn and potatoes (if using) and stir well to coat with butter. Add chicken broth and milk and bring to a low boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove soup from heat and blend with a stick blender. The original recipe instructs you to then strain soup through a food mill or fine mesh sieve, removing solids and pressing all liquid out of them. We skipped the sieving, which leaves lots of…um, ballast. Consider the quirks of your digestion going forward.

Esquites – Mexican Corn Salad

I’m kind of agnostic on fresh corn. It’s good and I’ll eat and like it if someone serves it to me, but I’m rarely moved to do anything with it myself. Plus, I get sick of flossing after a cob. So when I found this recipe on the food blog Serious Eats, I wasn’t hugely hopeful. I just thought it might make a good side with grilled meats. Then I made a test batch and we decimated the bowl.

When you make this, you might be tempted to up the spicy elements. Try to resist the first time – you don’t want the spiciness to overshadow the fresh and sweet flavors at play. And be very sparing with the salt – you get a nice punch from the cheese.

2 T vegetable oil
4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed (about 3 cups fresh corn kernels)
pinch salt
2 T mayonnaise
2 oz (50 g) feta or cotija cheese, crumbled
1/2 c finely sliced green onions
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, pressed
juice of 1 fresh lime
pinch chili powder

In a non-stick skillet, heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels (careful – they’ll probably pop and splatter) and stir until well distributed, then allow to cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. When you stir, the bottoms of the kernels should appear browned and caramelized. Add salt and cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and browning corn on all sides without burning. Remove corn from heat and allow to cool completely.

After cooling, add remaining ingredients, stir well and enjoy!

Basil Cornbread

Cliff is nutty for cornbread. I could take or leave it, until I made this one. Now, I’m a bit more amenable to it – especially with a pot of chili. I found this one here and deviated very little from the original, however, I’m thinking of leaving out the basil and adding jalapeños and a handful of shredded cheddar. I’ll update if I do it and it works.

2 c cornmeal
1 c flour
1/2 c sugar (I used less – I think you could get away with 1/4 c)
4 tsp baking powder (yes, 4)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, diced (I don’t think chilled is necessary, but I’m trying to follow directions)
1 1/2 c buttermilk
3 large eggs
1/3 c chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400° F (204° C) and grease a 9×9 pan. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter with a pastry cutter until coarse meal forms. Set aside. Lightly whisk together buttermilk, eggs and basil until just combined. Stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk mixture with a wooden spoon until all dry ingredients are moistened. Coarsely chop corn kernels in a food processor and stir into batter. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve.