“Most restaurant soups are soothing and boring,” says restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila, but, she says, you can always find an interesting soup at Govind Armstrong’s Table 8, where she recently sampled this white corn soup that has “all the sweet grassiness of the first corn of the season.” Adding to the spring-like effect is the garnish of tender roasted corn kernels, peas and sauteed fresh morels.
Table 8 corn soup
Stock and soup
To make the stock, remove the kernels from the corn cobs. Reserve the corn for the soup. Place the cobs in a large stock pot and add 4 quarts water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and discard. Strain the stock, reserve.
In a large stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, celery and leek and cook over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn (reserving 1 cup for garnish) and the potatoes and cook 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to high and deglaze the pan by adding the white wine. Reduce the wine by half. Add 10 cups corn stock (reserve the rest) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, loosely covered, for 1 hour.
Heat the heavy cream, bay leaf, thyme sprigs and peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Strain the cream, discarding the herbs.
Stir the cream into the soup and simmer 10 minutes. Remove the soup from heat and cool slightly. Puree in batches in a blender. Pour through a strainer into a clean pot.
Return the soup to the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add one-quarter cup reserved corn stock to thin to soup consistency.
Garnish and assembly
In a small saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the corn and cook until the kernels are golden and slightly crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Add the morels to the hot pan and cook until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove, set aside and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Blanch the peas in a small saucepan of salted water for 2 to 3 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve.
To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each with a teaspoon of peas, 2 tablespoons of corn and 3 morel slices.