When I was a kid I read recipes. (Yes, even then I loved cooking and eating.) I learned a lot from reading those recipes back then. Mostly the recipes were from the newspaper (print media? I must be old), but there were a few cookbooks and there were lots of hand written recipes from friends and family. I read recipes the way people read “The Hunger Games” or “Harry Potter” now. In fact, I still read cookbooks and recipes. I love to sit down with a good CIA text-book.
From reading recipes over the years, I’ve noticed that they’re written differently now. Many seem to be less detailed. They rarely use phrases like “scald the milk” or “cream the butter and sugar”. They merely tell you to use 4 cups of corn rather than tell you how to scrape the corn cob to extract all the really tasty milk from the corn kernels.
I’m not sure if the shorter cooking instructions are because the recipe writers assume the cook knows to do these things, or if it’s because of a shorter attention span and less time in the kitchen by some cooks.
I think the old methods and instructions are not only worthwhile, but I think you’ll get a better tasting dish with fresher whole ingredients. I mean, the milk from a fresh raw ear of corn is so sweet and creamy, you barely need to add anything else.
So, I’ll make sure to use those old cooking terms and methods when I know them. I’ll try to explain what scalding the milk means while using those old terms. And, many of these terms and methods not only apply to this recipe, but to tons of other recipes. Make your own creamed corn rather than buying a can of it. Use the corn juices in a corn bread. These techniques are so applicable to just about anything.
Now, all that being said, yes, you can use frozen corn in this soup, but it is so worth it to buy (or grow) fresh summer corn and do a couple of extra steps to make a silky smooth creamy fresh summer corn soup.
- 4 ears fresh corn
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ cups 2% milk
- ½ cup half-&-half
- freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the corn from the cob by holding an ear with one end resting on the counter or in a large bowl to catch all the kernels and juices. Using a sharp knife, slowly slice down the ear, removing the top two-thirds of the kernels, but leaving the base of the kernel attached to the cob. Then, using the dull side of the knife, press down the length of the ear to push out the rest of the kernel and the milk. Set the kernels and milk aside.
- Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for about 15-25 minutes, stirring often, until the onion begins to brown. If the onion begins to burn or dry out too much, just add a little water to slow the cooking. Continue cooking this way until the onion is well caramelized.
- Turn the heat down a little to medium-low. Add the corn and all the corn juices to the onions, and sprinkle with salt. Stir well, and cook for 7 minutes.
- Add the milk and the half-&-half to the corn mixture. Scald the milk, or heat the milk until tiny bubbles just start to appear around the outside of the pan (bring just to a simmer). Remove from heat, and cool slightly.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender and pour through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Allow the soup to drain through, pressing on the solids to extract all the soup. Transfer strained soup back to pan, and reheat over medium heat. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
- To serve, divide among bowls and top with freshly ground pepper. You can also use additional corn kernels or freshly grated Parmesan for garnish. Enjoy!