Late summer has arrived, and I’m ambivalent. Part of me adores the golden light, the bursting tomatoes and cucumbers, and the crisping air.
Another part of me knows that soon the light will be replaced by darkness, the tomatoes and cukes will yield to empty vines, and the crispness in the air will give way to chill.
I’m determined to take advantage of every moment of warmth and yumminess before those “soons” arrive.
This soup helps. It takes advantage of the full, ripe tomatoes and corn I can’t stop bringing home. Its ingredients and flavor pretty much embody freshness. And it can be frozen to be enjoyed in the winter.
The mixture is flexible. If you like corn more than you do tomatoes—or if you have more corn than you do tomatoes—up the corn content. If you have tomatoes about to get too soft, use more tomatoes. Add other vegetables if you have them in the house; a few beans or a little carrot won’t hurt. If you don’t have broth on hand, use water instead but increase the salt and cilantro … and maybe toss in a little cumin seed.
In short, be at ease and enjoy making and consuming your soup. And enjoy what’s left of this glorious season.
for the soup:
2 cups corn
2 cups tomatoes (if you have the patience to dip them in hot water and peel them, you’ll avoid having little pieces of tomato skin in your soup; if you don’t, live with the skin!)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 bell pepper, roughly chopped
seeded jalapeño peppers to taste (I used two when I tested the recipe, which made for a slightly spicy soup; I would probably add at least 1 more next time!), roughly chopped
a handlful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste (how much salt depends on how salty your broth is)
sour cream or Greek yogurt (just a little bit makes the soup creamy)
grated store (Cheddar) cheese
tortilla crisps (corn tortillas cut into small strips and fried briefly in canola oil)
more cilantro leaves
In a large pot, combine the soup ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes).
Cool the soup slightly, and puree it in a blender or food processor. Serve with or without the garnishes. (I like them!)
Serves 6 to 8.