Sweet Corn Soup and Maryland Blue Crab
Chef Colby Garrelts
Bluestem Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.
- 3 ears corn, husks and silk removed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup rye whiskey
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 4 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
- Freshly squeezed lime juice, for garnish
Sweet corn is just about as abundant in the Midwest in the summer as blue crabs are along the Eastern coast of the United States. Every summer, Megan and I try our best to visit my relatives in Delaware. There's nothing I relish more than sitting out on the docks with a bib, cracking freshly steamed crabs.
Fresh crabs are a luxury here in the Midwest, but once in a while, when I have a yen for the shore, I'll order some and pair them with corn freshly picked by our local farmers. Depending on how good you are at picking crabmeat, you'll need at least 2 pounds of whole live crabs to yield 4 ounces of meat. If you can't get fresh crabs, you can substitute unpasteurized crabmeat.
Rub the ears of corn with 1 tablespoon of the butter to coat. Liberally season them with salt and pepper.
Over a preheated charcoal or gas grill, or directly on the open flame of a gas stove, roast the corn, rotating the ears every 20 seconds, until the kernels begin to char. When the kernels have developed an even speckling of black char spots, set the ears aside to cool.
Cut the kernels off the cobs and set them aside in a bowl. Working over a separate bowl, "milk" the cobs by running the back of your knife, while pressing against the corncobs, down the length of the cob. Reserve the liquid and discard the cobs.
In a medium saucepan heat the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté them for 1 minute. Stir in the corn and cook for 1 more minute. Add the rye whiskey, white wine, and reserved corn milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cream, return to a simmer, and let the soup reduce for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes to cool.
Carefully pour the hot mixture into a blender. With a towel-wrapped hand held firmly over the lid, puree the soup on high speed until smooth and liquefied, about 5 minutes. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve or a double thickness of cheesecloth. Press down on the pulp with the back of a ladle or flat spoon to yield as much liquid as possible. Discard the pulp.
To serve, if the soup has cooled, reheat the soup in a small pot over medium-low heat. Divide the crabmeat among 4 small cups or bowls and pour about ¼ cup soup into each one. Garnish each serving with a dash of lime juice.
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