French Fridays with Dorie: Corn Soup

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!


About Tasty Mayhem

Love to eat, cook, write. Try to think of witty things to say about the world but my thoughts are consumed by food. Mostly.
This entry was posted in Main Dish, Soups, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Corn Soup

  1. betsy says:

    I didn’t have time to shop for seafood, but I’m glad to hear it was a delicious addition. Thanks for your mini-corn roundup. This the season. This was the second corn soup I made this week.


  2. Cheryl says:

    Oh, I was afraid to use raw seafood…you are brave! So we used bacon, and doesn’t everything taste better with bacon?

    I agree about the carrot–what a beautiful soup! Enjoy your weekend.


  3. Cher says:

    Now I am fixated on corn ice cream with bacon butter topping 🙂 My concentration for the day is broken…


  4. I also am loving your corn round up! I’ve made lots of corn chowder but had never considered using scallops. I’m glad this worked so well for you!


  5. Mmm, your soup looks delicious. I overlooked the part about scallops in the recipe but what a brilliant idea!


  6. Alice says:

    There is a festival we would go to in the town I lived in back in the States called “Pig Out in the Park” where all the restaurants and vendors would set up and you just walk from stand to stand eating whatever you want, and one of the places we always stopped was for grilled corn on the cob. it was fabulous, and I miss it! But this corn soup (kinda) made up for it this year!


  7. Candy says:

    Awesome idea to add scallops! I agree with Cher; I will be thinking about corn ice cream with bacon butter topping the rest of the day!


  8. Thanks so much for including me in your corn round-up! I have a corn chowder in my first book and as far as Dorie’s recipes are concerned, I haven’t met one I didn’t like! Many thanks once again. Best Virginia


    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      I hope folks take a look – some great recipes in your post. I went and got some cauliflower today to pickle along with the cukes, okra, peppers and carrots that were already in the fridge.


  9. Elin says:

    wow…scallops…that is luxury added to the soup ! Great idea to add scallops to the corn soup. It is my first time making creamy soup so I kept it to the basic…now after reading all the posts on this soup by other doristas , I have a greater idea now how to add more character to the soup 🙂


  10. I do think that corn is particularly nostalgic, more so than other veggies. Who knows why, but happy to hear that you enjoyed your soup.


  11. Your soup looks fantastic! Thanks for the shoutout! After two days of corn dishes, I’m pretty much tapped out on corn for awhile.


  12. sanyaliving says:

    I love how food evokes so many memories for us!
    Your soup looks great and really enjoyed reading your notes on the recipe!


  13. Eileen says:

    Looks good! I can’t wrap my head around how scallops work in the soup, because they both seem like such mild flavors. I’m thinking that my corn must not have been as good as it needs to be to give this soup a lot of oomph.


  14. Immersion blenders rock indeed! I wanted to see if anyone had added the scallops to see how that would work out. I love your idea of searing the scallops before adding them to the soup. Caramelized scallop tops rival bacon in my book. 🙂


  15. basilmomma says:

    THank you for featuring my chowder! Great things I see here!


  16. Sea Scallops would have been a great compliment! Will have to try this next time. I think it is a go to base recipe for lots of variations on soup/chowders. Also liked your add of the chicken stock instead of water!


    • Tasty Mayhem says:

      I make my own stock so it is strongly “chickeny” which is why i cut it with some water. Always looking for ideas to add a bit more protein to dishes and stock is a nice way to do so.


  17. Jill says:

    Another one that I shouldn’t have skipped! And it looks like the Blueberry Roulade didn’t win out in the voting for September : (

    I totally agree about immersion blenders. There’s no way I’m going to pour hot soup into a blender or food processor.


  18. Kathy says:

    Scallops are such a great addition to this soup. It is the season for corn…every farm stand by me is loaded! Glad you enjoyed it…I will have to consider scallops if I make this again!


  19. patty says:

    Nothing like a corn round up especially this time of year- now I’m thinking, what else can I make with corn this weekend?? I think the corn soup with crab, shrimp or sea scallops sounds out of this world delicious!


  20. Elaine says:

    What a great post! Your notes are so helpful and it’s great to read what changes you make to the recipes. Really like the idea of adding scallops. I hope you have a great weekend!


  21. Krissy says:

    Seafood is a great idea…I want to add some next time. Enjoyed your corn memories and fun to know about other corn blogging ideas.


  22. kitchenarian says:

    Your soup looks amazing and I LOVE all your notes on the dish especially the suggestion of the smoked cheese.


  23. Liz says:

    Oh, man, I love all your tweaks…and this must have been amazing with scallops!! Lovely soup~


  24. Marie says:

    I missed the MN State Fair this year, but my friends were all converts to the sweet corn ice cream. Your soup looks, and sounds, delicious. It sounds like the scallop addition was a very bonne idee, indeed.


  25. Teresa says:

    I wished I’d been organized enough to pick up some scallops to add to this soup – your version sounds wonderful. Great post. I love all your suggestions and your corn round up is so cool.


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