Charred corn soup with burnt jalapeno, avocado and coriander salsa

New York is in the midst of one of those oppressive August heatwaves, so cooking isn’t the most pleasant of activities right now. In fact, this past weekend, we didn’t cook once. Rising late each morning, we lethargically stumbled around to our local deli Caputos to pick up a fresh ciabatta, balls of handmade mozzarella, chargrilled artichokes and heirloom tomatoes. Heatwave or not, this is pretty much my perfect mid-morning meal. Total win.

Last week, I finally embarked on my sourdough bread baking adventure. Inspired by the amazing sourdough I ate in Sydney, I now have a five-day old starter sitting on my benchtop. At this point, I’m not 100% sure how good this starter is – the whole process of establishing it will take almost 3 weeks and honestly, I’m worried about how the internal heat of my kitchen will affect the live culture. But I'm pressing on. I plan to write a whole post about my sourdough ambitions at a later time – but needless to say, I’m currently daydreaming about running my own sourdough bakery in Brooklyn. Yet another pipe dream! If you have made your own sourdough, I’d love to hear about your hits and misses in the comments below!! Any advice is greatly appreciated…

Not long now until the launch of my book Neighbourhood in Australia. I’ll be heading back to the Antipodes for a book tour during the first week of September – make sure you check out my events page for the latest happenings in Melbourne and Sydney. I’m so excited about the 3 course feast at Pope Joan, where many recipes from Neighbourhood will be cooked by my fellow salad devotee Mr Wilkinson and his team. Tickets are selling fast (some events like the one at Sydney’s Cornersmith are already sold out) so get in quick!

This week’s recipe is versatile corn soup that can be enjoyed all year round, depending on the temperatures outside. It is nice served hot, but can also be enjoyed chilled.  So in a heatwave, have a few ice cubes on hand to create a lovely gazpacho-esque cold soup.


Charred corn soup with burnt jalapeno, avocado and coriander salsa

I burn the skin of the jalapeno to sweeten up the flesh and add smokiness but you can also just consume it fresh if you prefer.

Serves 4

  • 5-6 corn on the cob, de-husked
  • 1 eschalot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 large potato, diced roughly
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • ice cubes, to serve (optional)

Burnt jalapeno, avocado and coriander salsa

  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 medium avocado, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 3 tbps crumbled feta
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • ½ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped
  • juice of ½ lime
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

Begin by making the salsa. On a barbecue or open flame on a gas hob, blacken the skin of the jalapeno, turning it as it darkens, until all the skin is black. Place the jalapeno on a small plate, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

When ready, remove the black skin from the jalapeno and roughly slice the flesh. I leave the seeds in, but if you prefer it less hot, discard the seeds. Combine the jalapeno with the avocado, feta, sesame seeds, lime, 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Stir in the coriander (cilantro). Set aside.

Char the corn cobs on a barbecue, under a hot grill or in a frypan, until the kernels are golden in most parts. Allow it to cool and then, using a sharp knife, slice off the kernels. In a large pot, drizzle in some olive oil and add the eschalot and garlic and cook on low heat for 1 minute. Next, add the cumin seeds and ground coriander and continue to cook on how heat for another 2 minutes. Stir in the potato, corn kernels and stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a hand held blender, food processor or conventional blender, whizz up the soup until smooth.

To serve, top soup with the salsa, finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and, if consuming cold, add in 4-5 ice cubes for a refreshing chilled soup. Can also be consumer hot.

SOUPHetty McKinnon