Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Week 8: A Little Corny

THIS WEEK'S HIT: Tomato-Corn Soup

When you think of corn do you think of Iowa? I often do, but when I pass corn fields here I'm reminded that the crop has been cultivated in Massachusetts for centuries.

The local corn plants are beginning to show some height, so it was no surprise to find another dozen ears in this week's CSA share, along with basil, carrots, peaches, pickling cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, and a head of cabbage. The peaches were great eaten out of hand; the cucumbers became quick pickles; and I combined some of the cabbage and zucchini with boiled potatoes for Bubble and Squeak (more on this another time).

But the highlight of the week was corn. We boiled some shortly after picking it up at the farm, and blanched and froze some more for another day. A gift of tomatoes put us in the mood for the soup recipe below, which makes good use of this week's produce.

Tomato-Corn Soup


1 T olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups diced tomatoes, seeds removed (2 to 2.5 pounds)
2 cups water
1.5 cups corn kernels (2 to 3 ears), either raw or cooked
1 tsp salt
Fresh herbs of your choice – a good combination is 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil and 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Coarse ground black pepper, to taste


In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery for 7 to 8 minutes, until they begin to soften. Remove one-third cup of the mixture and set it aside.

Add garlic to the pot and sauté 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, water, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer the vegetables until they are tender, about 15 minutes.

Let the mixture cool a bit, then puree it in a food processor and return it to the pot. Stir in the reserved celery and onion, the corn, and the herbs. Simmer until the corn is tender, 10 to 15 minutes if the corn is raw, or 5 minutes if the corn is already cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

Serves 3 to 4


  1. I should probably hit my food history books, but perhaps one can argue that the growing of for the consumption of people of our complexion, started in MA.

    Did Zea Maize return to the old world through earlier exploration? It might be that Cristobal Colon/Christopher Columbus brought it back.

    In any case, Iowa? Pfui. :-)

  2. Just from quick research, it appears that Columbus brought maize back to Spain, and it was cultivated there by the mid-1500's. That puts maize in the Old World before the Pilgrims came to the New World.