No to be too un-Beekmanly boastful, but we grow some of the best sweetcorn in the area. We just do. What’s our secret? Well, Farmer John and his Dad start several manure piles in the pasture when they clean out the barn every week. Then after these piles have been spread over the fields to fertilize them, we go plant corn in the place where the pile just stood. It’s practically magic. You know the old saying: “corn should be knee-high by the 4th of July”? Well by the 4th of July around here, the tassles on our corn stalks practically scrape the bottom of the village firework display. (OK, farmers like to exaggerate a little.)
We usually have far more than we can eat fresh. And boy, do we eat a lot of it fresh. Luckily, it’s one of the easiest vegetables to prep and freeze. Which means we can make this refreshing chilled corn soup all spring, summer and fall. We brighten the sweet earthiness of the corn with orange zest and lemony sorrel. It’s a wonderful starter to an outdoor meal.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 qt fresh corn scraped from cob, or frozen kernels.
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups sorrel, cut in a chiffonade
Finely grated zest from one orange
Pinch of cayenne or other hot pepper
Salt & pepper (preferably white pepper) to taste
In a large saucepan, saute onions in olive oil over medium-low flame until translucent (about 7 minutes). Do not allow onions to brown. Add corn kernels and gently simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Add 2 cups broth, most of the grated orange zest (reserve a pinch for later garnish), and hot pepper. Bring to a boil
Once boiling, turn off heat and immediately use immersion blender to puree soup mixture. If pureed soup has cooled too much, bring back to a simmer and immediately take off heat again. Stir in sorrel and cream. (Soup can’t be boiling when cream is added.) Add salt and pepper (preferably white pepper) to taste.
Place soup mixture in refrigerator to chill. When serving, garnish with some fresh chopped sorrel leaves and orange zest.