Corn and Bacon Soup with Jalapeño Crema
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 6
"In the summer, we get great corn from Chino Farms [in Rancho Santa Fe, California]; it's really delicious," says Wolfgang Puck. He uses both creamy grated corn and sautéed kernels to make this satisfying soup, which he serves with a chile-spiked cream. "My young son Oliver loves the sweetness of the corn soup," Puck continues. "But I don't give him any jalapeño crema."
- 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.
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.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.