Starring your favorite and mine, King Corn.
On this Labor Day weekend Sunday morning, we were forced to contemplate the end of summer. With one exception (C.), we are a summer family, enjoying the heat and dreading cold. Summer food, in particular, is one thing we miss during the other three seasons. So as I drank a full press pot of Kona Peaberry this morning, I thought about a dinner menu that would be a fitting send-off to the season we love so much.
One upside of working in farmers’ markets in an abundance of seasonal food. Our fridge… and table, and counters… truly runneth over. But there are two standouts on any summer menu – sweet corn, and tomatoes. So I made a simple menu to showcase those two ingredients, which we happened to have plenty of after yesterday’s markets. And I couldn’t resist using one of our newest products as a central ingredient, too. The final menu read as follows:
Lyon’s Farm Sweet Corn Soup with Timberwood Organics (thanks Martha!) Sorrel Pesto
Roberson Creek Farm Heirloom Tomato Nuovo-Caprese Salad
Muddy Dog Roasted Cornbread
All Paired with Fox Hill Meadery Traditional Mead
I must confess that the soup was inspired by a similar dish I had at Spruce in San Francisco last month. I like my corn soup base better than theirs, but their sorrel was better, more like an emulsion than a pesto. So as not to keep you in suspense, here’s an image of the finished product:
The soup is really easy, and can be served hot or cold. Cut the kernels off two ears of corn; retain the cobs. Place corn and cobs in large saucepan. Add 4 cups water, 2 cups whole milk or cream. Also add one smashed garlic clove, a few branches of thyme, a few tablespoons of butter, and salt to taste (start with a couple teaspoons). Finally, add 1/4 cup of Muddy Dog Roasting Company roasted cornmeal (the cornmeal adds a roasted flavor while improving the texture and mouthfeel of the soup). Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for an hour. Remove corn cobs nd thyme branches. Blend till smooth with immersion blender.
After the soup is prepared, make a sorrel pesto by processing a big handful of fresh sorrel leaves and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Reserve some sorrel leaves and chiffonade them for garnish. Add oil to the spinning appliance till a thick liquid consistency is achieved. Throw in a generous pinch of salt while blending.
Assemble by filling a bowl with soup (can be hot or cold). Spoon some sorrel pesto on top and garnish with sorrel chiffonade.
The tomato salad was a quasi-traditional preparation: cucumber, tomato, sliced red onion, some diced mozzarella cheese tossed in olive oil and vinegar. I garnished with more sorrell since it was around. Salt and pepper to taste.
The cornbread was Deborah Madison’s recipe. Basically, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, pinch salt, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 2 eggs, 1 stick melted butter, 4 tbsp honey, 1 cup milk. Mix well, bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes.
And so ends another summer. While we will soon enjoy broccoli, cabbage, winter squashes and more, we will think back on today and long for corn and tomatoes. But seasonality is what makes them special.