It’s hard to get too much of summer corn. Every time I visit a farmer’s market here in the city, there is always a crowd of people gathered around the corn bins selecting their perfect ears, even if it’s late in the day and the sellers are packing up their trucks and vans. Even if I’ve had corn 3 or 4 times earlier in the week, all those overflowing bins become a huge magnet. Corn is one of the reasons I finally bought a virtually indestructible Lands End tote bag, since my other totes weren’t cutting it anymore for hauling heavy grocery loads home via subway.
So what can you do with all this sweet corn other than roasting it whole, creaming it, sprinkling kernels on salads and pastas, and making corn bread? How about a Chinese soup?
If you’re like me and kind of adore Chinese chicken and corn soup (homemade or take-out version), you’ll probably also love this light soup made with corn, cabbage, mushrooms, and carrots. The cob goes right into the pot to flavor the vegetable or chicken broth, and the rest of the ingredients take 10 minutes or less to cook through.
If you’re cooking for a large party, say at your next barbecue, by all means find a huge stockpot and quadruple the recipe.
Chinese Cabbage and Corn Soup
Serves 3 to 4 as an appetizer
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms (or substitute fresh shiitake mushrooms)
- 2 ears sweet corn
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups shredded Napa, Savoy, or green cabbage
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (or substitute chili oil if you’d like a spicy soup)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 scallions, shredded
- If you’re using dried mushrooms, soak them in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and discard the stems from the shiitake mushrooms. Thinly slice the mushroom caps.
- Working one by one, lean an ear of corn against the slide of a large sturdy bowl. With a serrated knife, carefully cut off the kernels while moving the knife away from you. (If you do this on a cutting board, the kernels will likely fly in all directions.) Set the kernels aside and save the cob.
- In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Add the corn cob and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes so the soup can extract some of the corn flavor. Add the corn, cabbage, mushrooms, and carrot and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Top off with shredded scallions and transfer to serving bowls.