Summer is the time for cold soups! And it is especially the time for cold soups which need no cooking and are full of fresh, local produce. My corn gazpacho is sweet from the sweet corn and yellow tomatoes and spicy from the hot peppers and onions added to mix.
One of the first recipes I posted here was a recipe for Creamy Corn Soup. Check out those photos! My photography has certainly improved in the last two years. 🙂 That’s a great corn soup, much better than the photos suggest, and I was thinking about that soup and my Tomato Gazpacho recently when I decided I needed a corn gazpacho in my life.
Do you ever do that?
Just decide you need a particular food in your life? Luckily for my blogging career, I do that frequently!
I need a clafoutis? I now have a peach clafoutis! I need a grilled whole chicken? I have French style grilled butterflied chicken! I’ve always been the type to try any recipe that caught my fancy, but now I write them down and improve them instead of forgetting what I did.
For this soup, I knew I needed a few things:
1. A balance of sweet and spicy
Fresh corn is so sweet and beautiful, that I love it by itself. Add in tiny, sweet tomatoes and it becomes too sweet for a gazpacho. So it needs to be balanced. I used spicy jalapenos along with white onions and a glug of sherry vinegar to keep the sweetness from dominating.
It’s a gazpacho, and, while not all gazpachos feature tomatoes, I really thought this one should. The tomatoes bring a bright acidity along with their sweetness and lots of body to the soup. Gazpacho shouldn’t be a thin soup and the tomatoes help fill it out.
3. To keep the color bright and yellow
Corn gazpacho should look like corn. It should be light yellow and not muddy or brown. Brown is not a good color for corn soup. This means you want to use ingredients which match the color of the corn as much as possible. A green jalapeno in the mix isn’t going to mess things up, but red tomatoes and green bell peppers will give you muddy colored soup. Therefore, use yellow tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, and white onions along with your yellow corn!
With those precepts in mind, I set to shopping and then to pureeing.
Since it is mid-summer, my local farmstand had just about everything I needed. Local corn, little yellow tomatoes, onions, scallions, and hot peppers. I couldn’t find a yellow bell pepper there, but a quick stop at the supermarket got me all set with that.
I was just writing the other day about how all bell peppers in American supermarkets used to be green. I distinctly remember the first red bell peppers and now we have rainbows of peppers. Yay!
As always when I’m trying a new recipe, I started with a rough guide to ingredients and amounts. Then I started adding things to the blender and adjusting as I went until I was happy. I wanted soup for four, which meant about 3 ears of corn and around 2 cups of tomatoes along with 1 bell pepper. 3,2,1… 🙂
After that, it was ‘add some and taste it’ until I had enough jalapeno, enough olive oil, the right spices (cumin!), and a thickness I liked.
I was on the fence about adding a slice of bread, since I was thinking it would be nice for the soup to be gluten-free, but I have to say that the texture wasn’t quite right until that piece of white bread was added to mix. The soup is quite tasty without it, so I would call it optional, but I do prefer the soup with the bread.
After that, the secret is to wait. I know! It’s terrible having to wait. However, some time in the fridge gives all the flavors time to combine into a harmonious whole. On the plus side, you can make this soup in the morning or the night before and have dinner all ready to go in the evening. You can add some nice grilled flank steak or keep it vegetarian by pairing the soup with a salad.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Sweet and Spicy Corn Gazpacho
- 3 ears corn
- 2 cups yellow tomatoes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium jalapeno, plus 2 tbsp finely diced for garnish
- 1 slice white bread, optional
- 1-2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 cup water, or stock
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Slice the kernels off the ears of corn. Reserve 1/2 cup of the kernels for garnish.
- Add everything but the scallions, the reserved corn kernels, and the reserved diced jalapenos to a blender. Blend until it is as smooth as you like it. Taste and add salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 2 days. Serve with little bowls of garnishes for people to add - sliced scallions, jalapenos, reserved corn kernels, and a fruity olive oil to drizzle over the top.
- I prop the ear of corn in the middle of cheap bundt pan to cut off the kernels. The center tube holds the ears and the pan catches the kernels.
- You can make a corn stock from the cobs after you remove the kernels. Add the cobs and 3-4 cups of water to a pot. Cook for 1 hour. Strain, cool, and refrigerate/freeze until you are ready to use it.
- I puree the gazpacho until it's quite smooth. I like the soup smooth and then get texture from the garnishes.
- A nice addition would be some cilantro. I can't add cilantro to recipes since I live with people who think it tastes like soap, but I know cilantro and corn are good friends.