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Eating seasonally offers us the pleasure of enjoying foods at the peak of their flavor, and it can also be budget friendly.  Beyond the more exotic finds that I come across, and do love at the farmers market, I get excited when l start seeing the bushels of corn appear.  Kernels so succulent and sweet they sing the songs of the season.  While lusting for fabulous corn I thought it would be fun to learn a bit more about it, so here are some kernels of knowledge:

  • Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Native Americans used to chew sweet corn leaves like chewing gum.
  • Corn is a whole grain.
  • An average ear of corn has approximately 800 kernels in 16 rows.
  • There is a strand of silk for every kernel on an ear of corn.
  • A bushel of corn has about 27,000 kernels.
  • Corn is a good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, thiamine, and fiber and is high in antioxidants.

Now that we are done learning about corn, lets get to the good stuff – this fantastic fresh herb and corn soup recipe.  The great thing about this soup is that you can use olive oil in place of butter and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and you have a vegan soup.

Ingredients:
6 ears fresh corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped shallots
6 cups (48 ounces) chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, plus a few small sprigs for garnish
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

Directions:
Remove the husks and silks from the corn. Set one ear of corn aside. Use a knife to scrape the kernels off the remaining 5 cobs, then break the cobs in half. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add the chicken stock, corn kernels, broken cobs, whole ear of corn, salt and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove the whole ear of corn and set aside to cool. Cook for 10 minutes more. Remove the cobs from the pot and discard.

Remove the pot from the heat and use a hand held immersion blender to puree the soup until very smooth. It should have a creamy consistency without being gloppy. If it’s too thick, thin it with water or stock bit by bit; if it’s too thin, cook over medium heat until thickened.

Use a knife to cut the cooked kernels off the cooled whole cob; add the kernels to the soup along with the herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with tiny sprigs of fresh basil if desired.

-Rachel

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