In Season: Corn And Fennel Soup

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Author and blogger Béatrice Peltre has a new collection of recipes out that will have you craving French food like never before. One of the most appealing factors of French food is that it's made at home for family. Though France's fine-dining scene has garnered world renown, it's eating at one's own dining table that's the real treat. Follow Peltre through her culinary journey and make tonight's meal a special one.

Being French, I did not know that corn soup had such flavorful potential (in France, you rarely find or eat fresh corn). Once I had a taste, though, I could see I had been missing out. I've tried my hand at many corn soups, and while I liked them all, I think this one is the best. It is especially good when, to add more body, I top it with steamed clams and aromatic parsley oil. This makes the soup a bridge between terre et mer (earth and ocean), a beloved theme in my cooking.

Reprinted with permission from My French Family Table

In Season: Corn And Fennel Soup
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 potato
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange pepper
  • Kernels cut from 1 ear of corn
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 16 slices of spicy Spanish chorizo
  • 16 littleneck clams
  • 4 ears corn
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups vegeable stock
  • 6 sage leaves
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 leek
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh parsley
  • 2 cups packed parsley leaves
  • sea salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  1. :::parsley oil:::
  2. Blanch the parsley for 10 seconds in salted boiling water. Transfer to an ice water bath to cool. Drain and dry between towels. Place the parsley leaves in the bowl of your food processor with the oil, and blend until the texture is fine.
  3. Pass the oil through a chinois or fine sieve. Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge. The oil keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator.
  4. :::garnish:::
  5. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potato and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through (test by piercing them with a sharp knife). Add the corn kernels and cook for another minute. Season with sea salt and pepper; set aside.
  6. :::soup:::
  7. In a nonstick frying pan, cook the sliced chorizo for a few minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer to paper towels to absorb the excess oil; set aside.
  8. Heat a pot of water and place the clams in a steamer basket on top. Cover and cook until the clams open (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat, and discard the clams that don’t open. Cover the pot to keep the clams warm; set aside.
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the ears of corn over a large bowl; set aside.
  10. In a pot wide enough to hold the corncobs, combine the milk, stock, corn kernels and cobs, and sage. Season with sea salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Keep covered and let rest for 10 minutes.
  11. In the meantime, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel seeds, and ground coriander. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned. Add the leek and celery, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the diced fennel and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the milk and corn mixture (with the corncobs still in it) and bay leaves. Simmer the soup, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Discard the corncobs and bay leaves.
  12. Transfer the soup to the bowl of a food processor, a few cups at a time, and purée until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Add a few steamed clams, slices of chorizo, and some of the garnish. Drizzle with parsley oil, and finish with chopped parsley.
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