Wondering whether the term “corny” has its origin in corn I came across a few definitions saying something that was overused, tired and dead. Is that what we think of corn? If so I think it’s because we eat too much of it and we force it on cattle and other animals when they actually have a hard time digesting it. And we tend to eat corn when it’s not in season – frozen, canned or truck ripened.
Corn is treated at the table like it’s a vegetable when it’s actually a grain. In doing so, we expect it to have these glorious nutritional properies like vitamin C, antioxidants or other leafy green qualitites and feel its failing us because it’s a cereal grain – protein, carbs. You may have realized by reading ingredient lists that corn is as a by-product in thousands of packaged items in an average supermarket. This “filler product” is not the corn I am excited about here. Give corn a break! Corn has a place and a moment and the moment is now. EAT IT NOW.
Young & Fresh
Every year around when summer peaks, fresh, young corn is one of the foods I really look forward to picking up at the market. The other day I saw a little girl gnawing on a fresh piece of corn with her little teeth buried into the juicy corn kernels. I tried one cob myself and was amazed how perfectly milky and flavorful it was. It didn’t need any seasoning or butter.
I bought a good amount of young corn that day and wanted to translate that fresh corn taste into some sort of a recipe. It hadn’t occurred to me to use corn raw, I guess I had plenty of “maiz” off the grill at the occasional street fair or I remember eating baby corn pickled when I was growing up.
Time is taste
The following recipe will be a success when you can get your hands on fresh, young corn which you will recognize by its natural sweetness. The fresher the corn the better since stored (not fresh corn) will change in flavor. The natural sugar content of the kernels converts to starch if stored, which leaves a mealy taste in your mouth. So get cooking right away!
Sweet Corn Soup
- Bring a pot (gallon-sized) of salted water to a boil.
- Peel corn then pull of the hairy pieces (those fine hairs are reffered to as silk).
- With a serrated knife (like you use for cutting bread) cut the kernels from the cob.
- Blanche the corn kernels in the boiling water for half a minute. With a slotted spoon transfer the corn kernels into a food processor (reserve the water). Season with fresh black pepper, salt and roasted garlic.
- Process corn kernels until finely pureed then add corn cooking liquid. Add as much corn cooking liquid as you desire the consistency of the soup to be.
(Chilled corn soup with king crab and spicy Japanese radish)
The soup can be served hot or cold. Sprinkle thinly sliced radish wheels and toasted bread croutons into the soup before serving. If you don’t have bread on hand for house-made croutons consider using your unsweetened corn flakes or popcorn.