Sweet White Corn with Crab & Chive Oil

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cornsoup.jpgBY ROBERT CURRY | WINE SPECTATOR GREYSTONE RESTAURANT

The first appearance of local sweet corn is the inspiration for this heavenly soup. Capturing the fleeting flavors of summer, Chef Curry likes to create layers of interest in his food by creating both complementary tastes (that of the corn and the crab) and those flavors that act as contrasts (the sweetness of the corn and the smokiness of the bacon). The herbal undertones suggest the verdantness of the garden and the lightness that is life in the Wine Country in July and August.


INGREDIENTS
Serves 6

  • 8 ears sweet white corn
  • ounces applewood-smoked slab bacon, cut into 1/ 3's
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme<
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1⁄/ 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced<
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄/2 pound Maine, rock or Peekytoe crab meat
  • Chive oil (see recipe)
Cut kernels from cobs. Reserve kernels and 2 corncobs.

Place bacon in a heavy-bottomed skillet and render over low heat until fat is released, about 4 minutes (do not brown bacon).

Add butter and onions to pot and sweat onions until soft and translucent.

Tie together thyme and sage sprigs and add to onion mixture.

Add chicken stock,potatoes and corncobs to pot. Bring to a simmer,season with salt and pepper, and simmer until potatoes are cooked through,about 30 minutes.

Add cream and bring soup to a boil.Reduce to a simmer, add corn kernels and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and discard bacon,corncobs,and herbs.

Blend soup until smooth. Adjust seasonings.

Pass soup through a chinois or fine-meshed sieve into a saucepan.Gently re-heat soup.

Divide soup into 6 soup bowls.Garnish each bowl with crab, and a dash of chive oil. Serve immediately.

CHIVE OIL

Easy to make and the essence of summer, chive oil can also be used on tomato salads, grilled fish, over Nicoise olives, and on couscous and other grain salads. Can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 week.

  • 1 bunch of chives
  • 1⁄/ 2 cup olive oil
  • Salt,to taste

Place chives,olive oil and salt in a blender.Purée until smooth. Let the purée sit overnight.

Pass purée through a coffee filter into a plastic squeeze bottle or small container.

One of the basic questions I consider when pairing wine with food is: does this wine complement the food or act as a contrast to the dish? In this case, the lightness and citrus tones to most Sauvignon Blancs would be a contrast to the richness of the crab and the sweetness of the corn. On the other side of the flavor equation, the cured nature of the bacon will tend to bring out the fruitiness (citrus or otherwise) of many Sauvignon Blancs. --CHEF ROBERT CURRY

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