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Creamy Corn Bisque with Corn Fritters

This image courtesy of Chris Cassidy Photography Inc

My zeal for corn takes me home to the state of Iowa. I can recall the days of our state fair as a child, holding a hot, buttery ear of sweet Corn and hearing my father proclaim, “Iowa only grows three types of sweet corn: pretty good, real good, and darn good.” Now, I buy Illinois corn at the Market for the restaurant and can honestly say it really is “darn good.” This is a soup I make as often as I can during corn season. —Michael Paulsen, chef/owner, Abigail’s American Bistro

Makes6 servings

Preparation Time30 min

Preparation Time - Text30 minutes

Cooking Time40 min

Cooking Time - Text40

Cooking Methodfrying, sauteeing

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecreamy, rich

Type of Dishbisque, soup

Ingredients

  • 6 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 small leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • ½ bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2½ cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears of corn)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • Canola oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE CORN STOCK AND SOUP:

  2. Remove the kernels from the corncobs with a sharp knife and reserve them. Scrape the corncobs with the back of the knife and reserve the “milk.” Break the cobs in half and place them in a large stainless-steel saucepan.

  3. Add the leek, shallots, fennel, onion, garlic, bay leaf, fennel seed, coriander seed, salt, and black pepper to the saucepan. Add ½ of the thyme and ½ of the parsley. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

  4. Strain the stock, discarding the cobs and vegetables. Return the stock to the saucepan over medium heat and add the reserved corn kernels, the cream, and the butter. Tie together the remaining thyme and parsley and add them to the saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove and discard the herbs.

  5. Transfer the soup to a blender (you may need to work in batches) and blend until pureed. Strain the soup into a large bowl, pressing down on the solids to get as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with the salt and black pepper.

  6. TO MAKE THE FRITTERS:

  7. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the corn, onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and black pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes, until the corn is tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

  8. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

  9. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually add the milk, beating constantly. Stir in the flour mixture and combine until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Add the cooked corn mixture and stir well to combine until a batter forms.

  10. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 3 inches of the canola oil. When the oil registers 350°F on a candy or deep-fry thermometer, drop the batter into the saucepan by the tablespoonful. Cook in batches and do not crowd the fritters, or the oil’s temperature will drop. When the fritters pop to the surface, roll them around with a slotted spoon to ensure that they fry evenly. Cook for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Season with the remaining salt.

  11. Reheat the soup and top with the fritters. Serve garnished with the fresh thyme leaves, if desired.

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