Chilled corn soup with beans, Tomatoes and jalapeño pesto

Serves 4.

Note: The winning recipe from the Chef Challenge at the Minneapolis Farmers Market came from Joe Rolle, executive chef of Il Foro in Minneapolis. If you don’t have tomato vinegar, substitute sherry or peach vinegar.

For corn soup:

• 1 tsp. canola oil

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 1/2 white onion, cut in small dice

• Kernels from 4 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

• 1 c. buttermilk

• 1 tbsp. tomato vinegar (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. heavy cream

• Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

For beans:

• 2 to 4 oz. fresh summer beans, such as haricots verts, wax beans, Romano beans, dragon tongue beans (all available at the farmers market)

• Salt

For the marinated tomatoes:

• 1/2 fresh garlic clove

• Juice from 1/2 lime

• 15 to 20 small heirloom cherry tomatoes

• 1 tbsp. fine sea salt

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1/2 tsp. finely ground black pepper

• 1 green onion

• 1/2 c. quality extra-virgin olive oil

For the jalapeño pesto:

• 6 jalapeños, halved and de-seeded

• 1/2 bunch fresh basil

• 1/4 bunch fresh Thai basil

• 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

• Juice from 1/2 lime

• 1 garlic clove

• 1 c. quality extra-virgin olive oil

• Salt to taste

For the corn relish:

• Kernels from 1 ear of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

• Canola oil

• Salt and black pepper

• 2 small tomatillos, diced small

• Juice from 1/2 lime

• 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• Sugar, to taste

• Minced fresh chives

Garnish:

• Smoked trout (use larger pieces, free of bones)

•Ground cumin

Directions

To make soup: Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat; add canola oil and butter. When butter is melted, sauté the onion until clear and fragrant. Add the corn kernels from 4 ears and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until fully cooked. Place corn/onion mixture into a blender, and process on high until smooth. Add buttermilk, vinegar and heavy cream, and blend until fully incorporated. Season with salt, sugar and pepper to taste. The purée should be medium-bodied; if too thick, add more buttermilk or a little water. Pass through a chinois or fine mesh sieve. Chill immediately.

To prepare beans: Bring pot of water to a hard boil, add salt (there is no real defined amount, but if you taste it, it should taste as salty as the ocean). When the water is boiling hard, add beans; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Remove beans and place them in ice water bath until fully chilled. Drain on paper towels before using.

To prepare marinated tomatoes: Grate the garlic on a microplane or mince very finely. Place in bowl with lime juice. Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the garlic/lime mix. Season with salt, sugar and black pepper; mix to coat evenly and let marinate for 5 to 8 minutes. Slice green onion very thin and add to the tomatoes. Add olive oil and marinate them for 10 to 12 minutes. Add more salt/sugar/pepper or lime juice if needed; drain tomatoes on paper towels before using.

To make jalapeño pesto: Place jalapeño, basil, Thai basil, cilantro, lime juice and garlic in a food processor; process 3 to 4 minutes (should still be a little chunky). With processor running, drizzle in olive oil until fully incorporated; season with salt to taste.

To make corn relish: Cook corn kernels in a sauté pan with a little canola oil; season with salt and black pepper to taste, and chill. Place tomatillos in a small mixing bowl; add lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Add chilled cooked corn to mixing bowl and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels and garnish with chives

To assemble soup: In center of individual bowls, add beans, tomatoes, pesto, corn relish and trout. Sprinkle with cumin. Add the liquid corn soup at the end.

 

Chilled Elote Soup

Serves 4 to 5.

Note: Elote refers to the grilled corn on the cob that is popular in Mexico. Tajin spice powder is a branded combination of dried chiles, salt and dehydrated lime juice; it’s available locally in the international aisle at many supermarkets. You can substitute commercial mayo for the homemade. From Steve Hesse, executive chef of Libertine in Minneapolis.

For soup:

• 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

• 3 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1/2 c. chopped leeks

• Kernels from 8 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

• 2 c. water

• Salt to taste

• 1 tbsp. butter

Cilantro purée:

• 1 bunch cilantro

• 1 c. olive oil

• Salt to taste

Tajin mayonnaise:

• 2 egg yolks

• 1 tsp. fresh lime juice

• 1 c. vegetable oil

• 1 tsp. Tajin spice

Garnish:

• 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and deveined, sliced thin

• 1 radish, sliced thin

• 5 ground cherries, cut in half, optional

• 6 to 8 sprigs fresh cilantro

• 2 ears of sweet corn, grilled or charred on open flame; kernels cut from cob

• 1/4 c. Cotija cheese

• 2 tbsp. Tajin spice

• 1/2 c. popped kettle corn, tossed with Tajin spice

• Edible flowers for garnish, optional

Directions

To make corn soup: In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and garlic, let sweat for 2 to 3 minutes; do not brown.

Add leeks and let sweat for another 2 to 3 minutes; do not let brown. Add corn kernels from 8 ears and let sweat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until corn is heated through and just tender.

Transfer the vegetables to a blender and process while slowly adding 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When smooth, strain corn purée through a fine sieve and finish with salt to taste; slowly add butter. Chill soup (in ice bath or in refrigerator) before serving.

To make cilantro purée: Blanch cilantro and chill in ice bath. Place cilantro in blender with 1 cup oil, and blend till smooth. Strain and reserve for plating. Finish with salt to taste.

To make mayonnaise: In blender add egg yolks and lime juice; process until it starts to get frothy. Then slowly add 1 cup oil until fully incorporated and smooth. Add Tajin spice and refrigerate.

To assemble: In individual bowls, add dab of mayo, then cilantro purée, and divide each of the garnishes among the bowls (jalapeño, radish, ground cherries, fresh cilantro, grilled corn kernels, Cotija cheese, Tajin spice, kettle corn and edible flowers). Serve the soup in a separate container (individual containers are a lovely touch), and let guests pour the purée over the ingredients in the bowl (or have the host do so).