Summer Corn Soup
3 cups whole milk
3 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from cobs, cobs broken in half and reserved
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 cups water
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
Ground white pepper
2 thick bacon slices, diced
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels cut from about 1/2 ear of corn
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Crème fraîche, stirred to loosen
Bring milk and corncob halves (not kernels) just to boil in heavy medium pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep while sautéing vegetables.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with salt and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes (do not let onion brown). Add corn kernels, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water, herb sprigs, bay leaf, and milk with corncobs. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cover partially, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.
Discard corncobs, herb sprigs, and bay leaf. Cool soup slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Strain into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season soup to taste with salt and white pepper.
Cook bacon in small skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Transfer to small bowl. Mix in corn, green onion, and pinch of cayenne.
Rewarm soup over medium heat. Divide among bowls. Sprinkle garnish over, drizzle with crème fraîche, and serve.
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