We’re celebrating summer produce here at Fab Frugal Food HQ – not only because it’s at its peak, but because it’s so incredibly economical to take advantage of the season’s abundance. We already featured a bunch of blueberry recipes, and this week we’ll put corn in the spotlight, followed by tomatoes, zucchini, peaches and more.

So! Corn, glorious corn, $4 for a dozen at the local farmstand, and about as cheap at your supermarket (though get them from a stand if you can – the freshness is palpably different). Sweet as candy when it’s freshly picked – in fact, the moment it’s picked, the sugars begin converting to starches. Later this week I’ll share a raw corn salad recipe that highlights this crisp sweetness, but for today, I’m starting with a simple corn soup.

This is adapted from “The Art of Simple Food” by the goddess of seasonal local produce, Alice Waters. The primary difference between her recipe and mine is the addition of black pepper and by blending it thoroughly rather than straining it through a sieve. The strained soup IS a much more refined, sophisticated end result, but the yield you get (thinking frugally) with the pureed version is significantly greater, and frankly, I really like the texture and thickness, though I must say, a blender rather than a food processor is best in this instance. The ingredients here are simple as can be – in fact I think all our upcoming corn recipes are pretty minimalist. I made this with butter, but switch it out for olive oil and you’ve got a perfectly vegan beauty.


3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 ears fresh corn, kernels cut
1 quart hot water
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a large pot. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 minutes or so. Add in corn and stir, then add water and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add salt. Transfer in batches to blender (never overload a blender with hot liquid) and puree until smooth – check it for your own preferred consistency. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed and black pepper as desired.

(I topped this with a roasted red bell pepper puree – it would be equally nice with roasted poblanos.)

— posted by Anne


  1. says

    Hope you enjoy! It’s incredibly simple – actually, all our corn recipes this week are.

    Hmm, a theory – I think I like to keep it simple in the summer, and then in winter recipes I tend to get more elaborate. Not necessarily in difficulty, but in layers of flavors and combinations of ingredients. Donna, what about you? Others?

    • says

      Yes, absolutely – it is (and SHOULD be) the food which dictates the cooking style.

      Summer fruits and veggies are so incredible that much of my cooking in the summer is to just stay out of the way – let the food speak for itself. Grilling is a summer thing not only because of the heat, but because the abundance of fresh veggies just screams out for a minimalist treatment.

      Winter calls for comfort foods and one pot meals.

      OK – now back to my kitchen to deal with the 200-plus ripe tomatoes that have been begging for my attention all week . . .

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