Chilled Soup for Summertime
I have made this chilled corn and cashew soup many times over the years. It’s a favourite in the summertime, when corn is in season.
I often have prawn stock on hand in summer, made with the frozen shells leftover from our Christmas feast . The soup also tastes good with either vegetable or chicken stock. However, I quite like the briny flavour of the prawn stock.
Cashews give the soup lovely creamy texture without making it too heavy. I’ve also strained the soup through a sieve, which makes it really smooth.
Lime and Basil
The lime and basil add another layer of flavour to the soup. The acidity of the lime juice balances the saltiness in the prawn stock.
I think that the basil is beautifully fragrant. Coriander works well, too, or finely chopped chives.
Serve wedges of lime on the side so people can add more if they wish.
Inspiration from fine chefs
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I thumbed through my friend Anna’s cookbook collection. Do you do that when you’re in your friends’ kitchens?
Thomas Keller’s ‘French Laundry’ cookbook was one such book, well-thumbed, with the odd page splattered with cooking stains. Keller is reputed to be one of America’s finest chefs. I’m yet to visit French Laundry. One day, perhaps…
He writes about his passion for cooking and his recipes offer home cooks a means to duplicate (or at least, attempt) his level of perfection.
Keller always strains his soups. He says that this concentrates the flavour of the hero ingredient, in this case, the corn.
I’ve tried straining a few soups I’ve made after reading Keller’s book, and if you have the time, I’d recommend it. It also works well with this winter Jerusalem artichoke and walnut soup.
Minimise food waste
When I’m cooking, I’m always looking for ways to minimise food waste. This chilled corn and cashew soup is a great example.
Instead of discarding the strained corn mixture, freeze it in small portions to add to corn fritters.
I always save seafood shells and poultry bones to make my own stock. Homemade stock taste so much better than the store-bought variety, especially those salty stock cubes.
I think this chilled corn and cashew soup makes an elegant amuse bouche, served in little glasses on a hot summer’s night. You could use little espresso cups or shot glasses. My glasses are actually tea light holders!
Or, simply serve the soup in bowls with a fresh, crusty baguette and a leafy salad for lunch. If you’re keen to make your own prawn stock, here’s the link for the recipe in an earlier version of this soup.
PS: If you’ve tried this chilled corn and cashew soup, or any other recipe from At Amanda’s Table, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below. And, if you’d like to read more, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter for stories, recipes and tips for simple, nutritious meals.
Chilled Corn and Cashew Soup
- 1 leek, white part, washed and finely sliced
- 2 celery sticks, washed and finely chopped
- 4 corn cobs, washed, kernels removed
- 1 cup cashews
- 6 cups prawn stock can also be made with chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 limes juice 2 of them & save the third to serve on the side
- salt and pepper
- 1 handful basil leaves, to garnish
- Soak the cashews for 2 hours in cold water, then drain before cooking. You can skip this step if you like, but it tends to yield a creamier soup.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Then sauté the chopped leeks and celery in the oil with a pinch of salt over a medium heat for ten minutes. Keep the saucepan lid on and stir occasionally. The vegetables should be very soft, but not brown.
- Remove the lid, stir in the cashews, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
- Add the corn kernels, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool for about ten minutes before pureeing with a handheld blender.
- Strain the soup through a sieve into a large bowl.
- Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with lime wedges on the side.