When I saw this week’s French Fridays with Dorie selection, I felt a little rush of anticipation. While last week’s selection was described by restaurateur Helene Samuel as having “the taste of the forbidden, the illicit” for me, no matter the unusual ingredients or delicious the outcome, it’s difficult to frame a hamburger as taboo. Eating a protein-centric diet makes carbohydrates, on the other hand, much the “taste of the forbidden.”
We are not super strict with our food choices: D’s been known to pop a bag of popcorn now and then, and me, to nosh on the corn chips and salsa they bring to the table at a Mexican meal. And, at least once a year when fresh corn is at its peak, I like to indulge in steaming or roasting an ear and slathering it in salty butter.
This soup met all my shivery longings: sweet and savory, hints of herbs and tasting of summer. In our part of the South, ears of corn for cooking, such “Silver Queen,” are a pearly, light, light yellow – very nearly white. At first I was concerned about the color of the soup being too pale and looking more like a cream of potato or cauliflower, but with the carrots blended in, it came out a lovely shade of yellow. Removing the herbs after cooking, but before blending was perfect – it had flavors of the summer garden but the sweet corn shone through clearly. D thought that the savory garnishes were needed to balance the sweetness of the corn and were not optional and I agreed. We used bacon bits, green onion slices and crème fraiche. And, we opted for splurging on some fresh sea scallops, as Dorie’s bonne idée suggests. Delicious!
My notes on the dish:
- I altered the liquids in the dish: used 2 cups of half and half for the milk, one cup of homemade chicken stock and one cup of water. This made the soup thicker, which was my goal for a main dish soup. I’d follow the directions and lighten it up if it was served as a first course.
- Vegetarians, omit stock and substitute water as in the orignal recipe. And clearly, omit the smoked meats and shellfish – a sprinkle of smoked cheese or a bit of smoked tomato would be nice as a garnish. See Virginia Willis recipes below.
- If serving to guests, I would lightly sear the scallops so they are still somewhat raw at the center, then cool and slice them. Despite the soup being piping hot,
it did not fully cook the scallop slices. This could have been due to the thickness of the slices; we had very large fresh scallops each of which I cut into four circular slices. I eat sushi, so raw does not faze me, but it might others.
- Other smoked meats would be great as a garnish: smoked turkey breast, salmon, smoked trout, etc.
- Immersion blenders rock! Thanks again to D’s family – you give the best Christmas gifts.
- If you try making your own crème fraiche, don’t forget about it and leave it sitting out on the top of the fridge for several days. Trust me, not pretty. I found one by Vermont Creamery that as Dorie suggests “pull[ed] from the tub like taffy.”
This is the perfect recipe for late summer/early fall and I can tell from reading blogs this week that corn is on others’ minds and tables as well. Corn evokes many fond childhood food memories: roasted corn dripping with butter sold by the Lion’s Club at the Wisconsin State Fair, my grandmother boiling corn on the cob for dinner (my job was to spear the cobs with spiked holders that looked like little ears of corn), and then the next day making corn chowder with the leftovers. This week Yummy Chunklet makes Ina Garten’s Sagaponack Corn Pudding, basilmomma adapts a “creamy” corn chowder without milk, Virginia Willis talks about corn, farm stands and the heartland (and whips up some Labor Day weekend appetizers – smoked goat cheese!) , and the Twittersphere is abuzz about the sweet corn ice cream with wild blueberry or butter bacon topping at the Minnesota State Fair. If you see any other great corn postings, be sure to link to them in your comments below!
Follow the antics of the other Doristas at French Fridays with Dorie . This week’s recipe was previously featured in Bon Appetit, but generally The FFwD group is not publishing recipes. We all have a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan and you should too!