Tomato and Corn Soup with Fresh Basil
Those two favorite summer ingredients—tomatoes and corn—make a heavenly match in this chilled soup. To remove corn kernels from the cob, hold a husked ear upright, stem end down, in a bowl. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice down between the kernels and the cob, allowing the kernels to fall in the bowl and rotating the cob slightly after each cut. Alternatively, use a corn stripper. In this recipe, the stripped cobs are cut in half and added to the soup to impart even more wonderful corn flavor.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 leeks, white portion only, finely chopped
- 5 large tomatoes, about 2 1/2 lb. total, seeded and coarsely
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups corn kernels (from about 3 ears of corn), corncobs
reserved and cut in half
- 8 fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Croutons for garnish
- 1/4 cup sour cream
In a large nonaluminum soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, corncobs, basil leaves, tomato paste and stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the corncobs.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Alternatively, process with a handheld blender in the pot until smooth. Pass the pureed soup through a fine-mesh sieve set over a serving bowl, pressing on the pulp. Discard any solids left in the sieve. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled, at least 4 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasoning just before serving. Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and garnish each with a few croutons, a dollop of sour cream and a basil sprig. Serves 4 to 6.
Cooks’ notes: Sweet white corn is particularly delicious in this soup. To ensure a velvety texture, use a fine-mesh sieve when straining.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2001).