Run to your farmers market to snatch up the last of the season’s corn for this creamy soup that is equally delicious warm or chilled. The sweet corn paired with zingy lemongrass and topped with subtly curried corn kernels and Thai basil comes together in a way that is all at once comforting and yet invigorating. Serve it as a light lunch or the prelude to a wonderful meal.
You can find lemongrass at most major supermarkets, as well as Asian groceries. Be sure to bruise it well with a rolling pin, meat tenderizer, can or other unbreakable object to release the flavor. If you don’t have fresh corn, frozen will do, but add an extra cup for flavor, since you won’t be able to add the cobs during cooking.
Corn and Lemongrass Soup with Thai Basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into a few large segments and bashed to release the flavor
4 large ears corn (3½ to 4 cups of kernels, plus the cobs)
1 can coconut milk
3 cups water
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 teaspoon salt
12 Thai basil leaves, sliced thinly
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and lemongrass and saute an additional 2 minutes to release the flavors.
Slice the corn kernels off the cob. Set aside 1 cup corn for the garnish. Add the remaining corn and the cobs to the pot, along with the coconut milk, water, potato and salt. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the garnish by heating 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the reserved cup of corn and fry until lightly golden. Remove from heat and stir in the curry powder, lime juice and salt.
From the soup pot, remove the corn cobs and lemongrass pieces and discard. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy. Ladle into bowls and top with the curried corn garnish and Thai basil.
Registered dietician and food writer Laura McLively is the author of “The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook.” Follow her at @myberkeleybowl and www.lauramclively.com.