Being French, I did not know that corn soup had such flavorful potential (in France, you rarely find or eat fresh corn). Once I had a taste, though, I could see I had been missing out. I’ve tried my hand at many corn soups, and while I liked them all, I think this corn and fennel soup recipe is the best. It is especially good when topped with with steamed clams and aromatic parsley oil. This makes the soup a bridge between terre et mer (earth and ocean), a beloved theme in my cooking.
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 potato, peeled and finely diced
– 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
– 1/4 cup orange pepper, finely diced
– Kernels cut from 1 ear of corn
– Sea salt and pepper
– 16 slices of spicy Spanish chorizo
– 16 littleneck clams
– 4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
– 473ml whole milk
– 710 ml homemade vegetable stock
– 6 sage leaves
– Sea salt and pepper
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
– 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
– 1 tsp ground coriander
– 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
– 2 celery stalks, diced
– 1 fennel bulb, diced
– 2 bay leaves
– Parsley oil, for serving
– Fresh parsley, finely chopped
– 2 cups packed parsley leaves
– Sea salt
– 236ml olive oil
1. Blanch the parsley for 10 seconds in salted boiling water. Transfer to an ice water bath to cool. Drain and dry between towels.
2. Place the parsley leaves in the bowl of your food processor with the oil, and blend until the texture is fine.
3. Pass the oil through a chinois or fine sieve. Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge.
Tip: The oil keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator. In addition to a garnish for the corn and fennel soup, it’s also lovely in a vinaigrette and as a garnish for a risotto or fish.
1. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potato and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through (test by piercing them with a sharp knife).
2. Add the corn kernels and cook for another minute.
3. Season with sea salt and pepper; set aside.
1. In a nonstick frying pan, cook the sliced chorizo for a few minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer to paper towels to absorb the excess oil; set aside.
2. Heat a pot of water and place the clams in a steamer basket on top. Cover and cook until the clams open (about 5 minutes).
3. Remove from the heat, and discard the clams that don’t open. Cover the pot to keep the clams warm; set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the ears of corn over a large bowl; set aside.
4. In a pot wide enough to hold the corncobs, combine the milk, stock, corn kernels and cobs, and sage. Season with sea salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Keep covered and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. In the meantime, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel seeds, and ground coriander. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned.
6. Add the leek and celery, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the diced fennel and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add the milk and corn mixture (with the corncobs still in it) and bay leaves. Simmer the soup, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Discard the corncobs and bay leaves.
8. Transfer the soup to the bowl of a food processor, a few cups at a time, and purée until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot.
9. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Add a few steamed clams, slices of chorizo, and some of the garnish. Drizzle with parsley oil and finish with chopped parsley.
In her signature style of blending classically French dishes with exotic, modern twists, food stylist and photographer Beatrice Peltre of La Tartine Gourmade offers up recipes for each meal of the day plus the traditional French goûter (afternoon snack). Peltre ups the ante on what gluten-free foods can be—incredibly tasty, beautiful, and nourishing. Whole grains, colorful produce, spices, and creative use of ingredients abound. Peltre’s bright photography, impeccable styling, and sweet storytelling bring the book to life. All these elements come together to create an inspiring collection of recipes for feeding a family and feeding them well.
From My French Family Table by Beatrice Peltre © 2016 by Beatrice Peltre. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com.