- 10 medium ears of corn, shucked
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces lean bacon, finely diced (1/2 cup)
- 1 celery rib, finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Kosher salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Set a box grater in a wide, shallow bowl and coarsely grate 6 ears of corn; you should have 2 cups of grated corn. Cut the kernels from the remaining 4 ears; you should have 2 cups of kernels.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the bacon, celery, onion and yellow pepper, cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the grated corn, the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring often, until the soup is thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and the cayenne pepper and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the corn kernels to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until they are lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Season with salt. Stir the cooked corn kernels into the soup and keep warm.
- In a blender, whip the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks, about 20 seconds. Add the sour cream, jalapeño, chopped cilantro and lemon juice and blend until thick. Season with salt and white pepper.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with spoonfuls of jalapeño crema and cilantro leaves and serve at once.
The soup can be refrigerated overnight; reheat gently. the jalapeño crema can be refrigerated for 4 hours.
This lusciously sweet corn soup gets smokiness from the bacon, making it an almost ideal match for a full-bodied California Chardonnay with a hint of smoky oak in its aroma. Napa Valley's warm weather often results in voluptuous whites.