Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Creamy Corn Soup with Grilled Radicchio
This past weekend we were in San Francisco. Two wonderful food events happened. I went to Delfina and back to Bistro Aix which had been closed for months for a remodel. I ate cream of corn soup at Bistro Aix that was outstanding. I really enjoyed the contract of flavors from the sweet, yang of the corn and the bitter, yin of radicchio. When we got home, I picked up my vegetable share and there was a big head of radicchio included. Local corn was at the coop, so it was a done deal. I was going to create my own version of the wonderful dish at Bistro Aix. Radicchio is a bit of an unknown to some people. I am the only person I know who buys it somewhat regularly in fact. Mostly I grill it with olive oil and salt and chop it up for pasta or farro salad. I think I am drawn to it because it is a bit of a vegetable outsider. That means there is a lot of room for creativity. I have sauteed it with pine nuts and orange zest too, which I enjoyed. The bottom line with bitter vegetables in my humble opinion, is to pair it with a bit of something rich. My recipe has a bit of heavy whipping cream, stock and corn. Corn this time of the year is very sweet and tender. I sliced off the kernels, sauteed them in butter, shallots and onion. Threw in a splash of dry vermouth and cream and voila! creamy corn soup. I normally do not used heavy cream for recipes, but I made an exception this week. M loves fresh strawberries with whipped cream so I used a bit of that. I highly recommend Straus heavy whipping cream. It has a wonderful flavor and it is worth the extra money it costs.
Thank you Bistro Aix for the wonderful inspiration, and thank you to my lovely CSA farm for providing the most wonderful head of radicchio I have ever eaten!
Creamy Corn Soup
1 tlbs diced shallot
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tbls. butter
4 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
2 ears of corn kernals sliced off
1 tbls dry vermouth
4 tbls heavy cream
fresh pepper and salt
1 cup grilled and chopped radicchio
1 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves
In a heavy bottomed pot, sautee shallots and onion in butter for 10 minutes on med. low heat. Add corn and vermouth and cook for 10 minutes more. Add stock and cream, then simmer for 10 minutes more covered.
With an immersion blender, blend the soup until chunky but starting to smooth out. I blended for about 3 minutes. Test for salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Toss freshly washed radicchio in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle of salt. Grill on both sides until starting to wilt and brown (about 4 min. each side). A bit of charring is fine. Remove from grill and roughly chop. You want pieces small enough to take bites fo soup with, but not larger. Set aside.
In a blender add basil and olive oil. Blend for 5 seconds. Pour oil through strainer to remove basil.
Ladle soup into bowl and top with a spoonful of grilled radicchio. Drizzle a teaspoon of the basil oil on the soup.