Recipe: Sweetcorn and Basil Velouté.

For this veloute it is crucial that you use fresh corn on the cob, as frozen or tinned corn doesn’t have the same sweet flavour. It will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator, but because of the high fat content from the cream it does not freeze well. See the variation with crab or lobster at the end for something different.

Ingredients (makes 1 litre)

  • 4 fresh sweet corn cobs
  • 100g finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 50g diced unsalted butter
  • 2ltr water
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil with stalks roughly chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground white pepper

Method

To make the sweetcorn stock, peel and remove all the outer leaves, stalks and fibers from the cobs of corn. Remove the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside until ready to use. Cut the cobs into three pieces.

In a heavy based saucepan melt half of the butter and add half of the onion and garlic and sweat for five minutes over a medium heat without colouring until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the cob pieces, 2 sprigs of thyme and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further five minutes without colouring. Add 2 litres of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stock for 20 minutes, skimming it frequently before passing it through a fine sieve, discarding the cobs, onion and garlic.

In a heavy based saucepan melt the remaining butter and add the remaining onion, garlic and thyme. Sweat for five minutes over a medium heat without colouring until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the corn kernels and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further five minutes without colouring. Add the reserved corn stock and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes skimming regularly until the corn kernels are tender. Add the cream and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into a liquidizer in batches and blend to a smooth puree. Pour the blended soup into a clean stainless steel bowl and add the basil and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Allow the basil to infuse for an hour before passing the soup through a fine sieve pressing hard with the back of a ladle to extract as much flavour from the corn and basil as possible. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

The soup can be served either hot or cold and garnished simply with baby basil leaves.

Variation:

Serve with some freshly cooked crab meat or a medallion of cooked lobster tail and a drizzle of olive or basil infused oil.