Grilled corn soup with basil-infused oil

Whoever invented the word cornucopia must have been looking at all the leftover cobs in my fridge. The corn is so good right now I always buy too much – six cobs per person seems to be the rule of thumb, despite the fact I really do know they’ll only eat two or three.

This silky smooth soup is perfect for  a summer lunch and a great way to use up  leftover corn (as well as  a baked potato, if you’ve got one).  The basil-infused oil is optional but basil plays well with corn and is a great contrast to the richness of the cream and the smoked paprika. If you happen to have some hot charcoal after dinner, throw the leftover cobs on for a few minutes to caramelize them a bit, Or, you can toss them on the gas grill the next day. If that’s not an option, sauté the kernels with the onion for a few minutes before adding the stock.

Grilled corn soup with basil-infused oil

Serves four

For the soup

1 small, sweet onion, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ Russet potato (or other starchy potato like Yukon Gold), peeled and diced

3 cups chicken stock

1-1/2 cups milk

6 cooked cobs of corn, kernels removed (roughly 3 cups)

1/4 cup whipping (35%) cream

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

Pinch cayenne (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

For the Basil-infused oil

1/4 cup Chopped basil

1/2 olive oil

For the soup: If using left-over corn, grill cobs over medium heat on a gas grill until cobs are slightly caramelized. Cool and remove kernels from cobs with a sharp knife. If using fresh corn, boil cobs in salted water for three minutes before grilling.

Place the butter and olive oil in a medium-hot pot large enough for all the ingredients and sauté until onions are translucent (7-10 minutes ought to do it). Add milk, chicken stock, potato, salt  and stripped corn cobs (for flavour) and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard cobs. Add corn, paprika and black pepper. Simmer for five minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender or food processor. Pour soup back into the pot through a fine-mesh colander, using a spatula to press out all the liquid. Discard solids.

Add cream and heat through. If the soup is too thick add more milk. Serve with a drizzle of basil-infused oil and some crusty bread. Enjoy.

For the oil: Chop basil finely and add to oil in a small pot. Heat gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and serve. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

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