This soup really highlights one of the best foods of summer-- corn. I used sweet white corn and very few other ingredients. The corn has a sweetness and complexity of its own. If you want a corn chowder with tomatoes and other chunkiness, this soup is not for you. The only thing I'd recommend adding to complement the velvety corn is perhaps some dungeness crab as a garnish. This was unfortunately outside of my post-travel budget, but the soup was delicious as is.
You'll need (makes at least 4 servings, as a first course):
3 large ears of corn
4c chicken (or veggie) broth
salt & pepper
2T heavy cream
a bit of basil chiffonade for garnish, optional
Chop onion. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add onion and salt.
While onion is cooking, clean corn. Break ears in half and stand one half on cutting board, cut side down. Using a sharp chef's knife angled towards the corn, slice the kernels off, being careful they don't scatter all over your kitchen (if you have a bundt pan, use the middle hole to support the corn and the kernels will fall into the "moat"). Do this for all the corn, reserving the cobs. As you cut off the corn, add it to the onions.
Pour chicken broth into a small saucepan. Add the cornless cobs. Cover. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let steep.
Cook onions and corn over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, until corn is golden brown and sticks slightly to the bottom of the pan. Add broth with cobs and 2c water. Bring to a boil; lower to a simmer and cook, partially covered, about 20 minutes, until corn is tender.
Remove cobs, draining carefully, and discard. Ladle soup into a blender and puree in batched-- be very careful when blending hot liquids, as they expand (never fill blender more than halfway).
Return pureed soup to pot. Stir in cream. Thin out if necessary with milk or water. Serve garnished with basil leaves.