It’s that time of August when you realize that the end of summer is near, even if you can’t see it—like the moment after you pull the drain-stopper from a sink full of suds, just before the dishwater starts to twirl down the drain. All is still and calm, before it unstoppably slips away. Right now, in this moment, it’s not yet unstoppable.
Really, it’s a sweet spot of sorts. The overnight temperatures have started to dip, granting a crisp early-morning reprieve from the sweltering weeks gone by. But the evenings are still long and warm, sun-streaked and scented with grill smoke. The markets are resplendent with tomatoes and melons and peaches and corn; we won’t be apple-picking for a few more weeks yet. Hydrangea bushes heave with great big poms and the lush leaves atop the trees on either side of the street meet in the middle, arching into a sun-dappled canopy. Those same leaves will go golden and crimson soon, before they the carpet sidewalks below.
It’s a time to relish summer, even if I often find myself happily anticipating autumn too. So, I’ve been doing my best to live in this mid-August moment. In recent weeks, there have been juicy watermelon wedges, and cheddar-draped burgers, and afternoons spent reading in the grass. There was a weekend by the pool in Michigan, and there’s a road trip through Wisconsin and up into Minnesota in the works. There will be camping, and two Great Lakes, and cold beers, and s’mores eaten in the company of two sides of my family in two different states—and all of it in the very same week. If all of that is not summer, glorious summer, I don’t know what is.
On the other hand, I’ve dug out a few sweaters, and I’ve curled up beneath a woolen blanket on the deck, and I’ve flipped through the latest fashion magazines, full of olive greens and rosy cheeks and long scarves. And there’s been soup, too. All of these things are nods to fall, that favorite of my seasons.
This soup perfectly straddles the summer-fall divide. It acknowledges that it’s still summer (the soup is sweet corn, and not much else), but it gives in to the tug of autumn (it’s served hot), too.
Fresh Corn Soup
Simply Mexican via Epicurious
kernels from 5 ears fresh corn
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 red onion, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
diced avocado, for serving (optional)
lime wedges, for serving (optional)
snipped chives, for serving (optional)
Put the kernels in a food processor or blender.
Combine the oil and the garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add wine and cook until the wine has nearly evaporated. Transfer the vegetables to the food processor or blender and puree until smooth. (You may need to pulse or stir the corn mixture in order to achieve a smooth consistency, but do not add any more liquid.)
Pour the corn puree into the soup pot and place over medium heat. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the soup begins to thicken. Slowly whisk or stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Serve with avocado, lime wedges, and chives, if desired.