SEASONAL NUTRITION: SWEET CORN SOUP

Sweet corn is in season during the summer months making it the perfect base for easy warm weather meals.

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There are several different types of corn. The one you see stored in silos and used as animal feed is not the one that ends up on your dinner table. Sweet corn is the one we adore in the summer. It’s picked when it’s immature and served up as a vegetable versus staying on the stalk to dry and being used as a grain.

Contrary to popular belief, sweet corn delivers nutrition benefits. It’s a source of fiber and Vitamin A and packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytonutrients important for healthy vision. Its starchy composition lands it in the higher calorie vegetable category at about 90 calories per medium ear (or 125 calories per cup).

In the supermarket and at your local farmers’ market, you’ll find yellow, white and bi-color sweet corn. All offer similar nutrition benefits. To pick the perfect ear of corn, let looks be your guide. Supple, green husks hint at freshness. The corn silks may be a light or dark brown (at the top) but should not be completely dried out. When you pull back the husks and pop a kernel, expect to be sprayed. If not, your ear of corn may be a little too old.

The most important thing you can do for optimal sweet corn flavor and nutrition is to get it fresh. Sweet corn loses flavor and hydration quickly. Eat it as soon as possible after buying and store it in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Experts recommend 1-2 days maximum.

Sweet corn is incredibly versatile. You don’t have to do a lot to sweet corn to make it taste good. You can even eat it raw. Try it in a salsa or salad for added crunch and sweetness. Roast or grill it for a smoky, sweet flavor. Puree sweet corn into a soup for a delicious appetizer or main course with a little shrimp or crab added. Scrape the cob to get the “corn milk” and use it in soup to save calories and add a creamy finish.

For this simple recipe, I combined sweet corn with sweet Vidalia onions. The soup is creamy and full of body on its own but I added a touch of coconut milk for extra silkiness while keeping it vegan. You can also use cream. I swirled in a little homemade basil oil but pesto would be delicious too.

This Simple Sweet Corn Soup recipe comes together quickly. First things first: remove the corn from the cob. It may get a little messy.

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Sauté the vegetables in olive oil and add in the remaining ingredients. When slightly softened, it’s time to blend. Turn off the heat and ladle half the soup mixture into your KitchenAid® Diamond Blender.

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Vent the top of the blender to allow the steam to escape. Be careful throughout the process. The mixture will be hot.

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Puree until smooth and creamy.

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This may be one of the simplest and sweetest soups you’ve ever made thanks to the fresh summer ingredients.

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Simple Sweet Corn Soup

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

4 medium ears sweet corn (about 4 cups off the cob)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil oil dressing or pesto (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Remove the corn husks and silks and cut the corn from the cob in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until softened not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the corn, broth and coconut milk. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until the corn begins to soften. Remove from the heat.

Add half the mixture to the KitchenAid® Diamond Blender. Vent the top. Puree until smooth. Repeat until all soup is pureed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the warm soup into 4 bowls. Swirl in a drizzle of basil oil or pesto on top of each soup serving.

Serve warm.

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