Whenever I fire up the grill, I always grill corn. I think it makes the perfect summer side dish eaten right from the cob with nothing, not even salt. But often enough after a family dinner, especially the one this past Labor Day weekend, I find myself with a few leftover ears. I'm always trying to come up with new ways to use the corn. I slice it from the cob and use it in rice dishes, in salsas, or make a succotash. But one of my favorite ways to use leftover corn is in a chilled soup.
Here I reimagine the classic French chilled soup, vichyssoise, with the addition of corn. The base of leek and potato is still the same. It's very mellow, but once the corn is added, it brightens and sweetens the soup. My secret ingredient is a sprig of lemon thyme, which adds a citrusy woodsy note. The soup could also be eaten hot, but why not have a bowl of cold soup during the dog days of summer? It's thoroughly refreshing, savory, sweet and most of all cooling.
Summer Corn Vichyssoise
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large leek, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
3 ears grilled or boiled corn, sliced from the cob
4 cups chicken stock
1 sprig thyme
1 tablespoon heavy cream
coarse sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
chives, for garnish
Heat butter and oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add leek. Cook until translucent and soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add potato, chicken stock, and thyme sprig; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprig. Add two-thirds of the corn, reserving the rest for garnish.
Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until silky smooth. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. If desired, strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve. Chill for at least 2 hours. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with remaining corn and chives. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.