Making soup is one of my greatest pleasures. After you know the basic models and processes, you can do just about anything and use up just about anything. It is a tremendous stress reliever for me too — before every presidential debate (I get a little worked up over politics), I have to make soup to focus my attention elsewhere. Plus, it is obviously about the best comfort food you can find.
And summer time makes me miss soup a lot. As much as I like the idea of chilled soups (and love the flavors, to an extent), they are just not the same. Somehow, I just feel like I am eating a giant bowl of salsa or leftover sauce from the refrigerator. It just doesn’t seem … finished.
So, the rainy weather (combined with everyone feeling a little run down) gave me the urge to make a summer soup. Of course, I had zucchini to use. And leftover corn. And some beautiful fresh garlic and onions. I added smoked paprika because I wanted the smoky quality to add depth and contrast to the sweetness of the corn. From there though, I went in a slightly Italian direction with lots of basil and a parmesan crisp garnish. But I am actually going to change this recipe up next time and make a Cuban Corn Bisque (with smoky chipotle, garlic, cilantro, lime zest, and a little queso fresco to garnish).
See what I mean? You can do anything with soup. The only rule is that you cook it until it tastes good. There is no excuse for a bad soup because you can keep tasting and adding to it (very much unlike other dishes). You cook soup until it tastes good. Period.
Corn and Zucchini Bisque
1 large zucchini, cubed (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups of corn
2-3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 t smoked paprika
Small bunch of basil, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. In a large sauce pan or stock pot, heat about 1 T of olive oil. Saute the zucchini, onion, and garlic until soft (about ten minutes). Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.
2. Add 3 cups of corn and a nice handful of chopped basil. Saute for 1-2 additional minutes.
3. Add water and white wine, cover with lid, and cook 5-10 minutes more until very soft.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. (You can also use a regular blender, however be VERY careful with blending hot liquids. They expand and can make a huge mess or burn you. You must do it in small batches and keep the lid slightly off, while covering with a towel, to allow the steam to escape without having the soup splashing out and burning you. I would strongly suggest an immersion blender … they are great for all sorts of tasks and are not expensive at all.)
5. Stir in heavy cream and remaining 1 cup of corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional smoked paprika.
6. Garnish with parmesan crisp, additional chopped basil, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
For the Parmesan Crisp: Preheat oven to 400 F. On a parchment lined baking sheet, thinly slice or grate some parmesan cheese in square shapes. Bake for 7-8 minutes until very bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool (they will crisp up as they cool).