Last week was a bad week. The moon and stars must have been out of alignment because I was a wreck. I cried. At work. And at 30 years old I threw a tantrum that would rival any toddler in a tiara. It was that kind of week. By Friday I was more than ready to let it all melt into a bottle of wine and lift my spirits with my favorite comfort food – soup.
My tears of frustration soon transformed into a simmering pot of tomatoes, bits of corn kernels and fragrant basil bobbing around together in a pool of savory veggie broth. Wine in hand, soup on stove and Jose Gonzalez singing to me in the background and soon enough I had forgotten all about my bad week.
This year’s garden has provided a generous amount of tomatoes. Jars of our favorite sauce are crammed into every crevice of the freezer like a fierce game of Tetris, a rainbow of salsas have decorated our favorite tacos, and nearly every meal is dotted with a red, green, or yellow tomato. Not that I’m complaining. Tomatoes are a staple of summer right there along with corn and basil, which is why this soup makes me happy.
This recipe has a couple tricks up its sleeve and will need a little extra attention but I promise you it’s nothing to worry about. First, peel and seed the tomatoes by marking their bottoms with an X and plunging them into boiling water, wait 30 seconds then scoop them out and into an ice bath where their skins will fold away making it easy for you to get to the soft fleshy inside. Now cut the tomato in half and give it a light squeeze like you would a lemon to gently coax the seeds out. Set aside.
The rest of the work is mostly prep – chopping leeks, shucking corn and cutting ribbons of basil. The two important tricks come in the form of flour and corncobs. Once the leeks have softened into the oil and the tomatoes have had a chance to breakdown a bit you add a couple tablespoons of flour to create a sort of veggie rue. It’s wonderful because it creates a nice thick soup without having to use any cream. Once you get the broth and corn kernels in the pot you can add the cobs that have been patiently waiting their turn to join the party. The cobs will help add a wonderful depth of corn flavor that the kernels alone are not able to do.
Now simmer, puree (minus the cobs), strain and mix in the basil. Serve with a drizzle of lemon oil and maybe a crunchy grilled cheese sandwich and all will be right with the world.
Tomato and Corn Soup with Fresh Basil
Adapted from Williams – Sonoma Collection: Soup
Serves 4 -6, Can be made ahead of time
Download a printable recipe here: cbandj_tomatoandcorn_soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
5 large tomatoes (2.5lbs), seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
3 ears of corn shucked, cobs reserved
Large handful of basil leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I didn’t have any so I left it out)
3 cups veggie broth
Salt & Pepper
Lemon oil to garnish
- In a large pot warm the oil. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes longer.
- Add the corn kernels, corncobs, basil leaves, tomato paste and stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and discard cobs.
- Puree the soup with your hand blender or in batches with a regular blender until smooth. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or back into the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
- You can serve it now but it will be much better if you let the flavors meld in the fridge for about 4 hours.
- Garnish with a drizzle of lemon oil and a basil leave.