Because I live in a temperate area of the globe, much of the “height” of summer produce doesn’t arrive here until quite late in the season. Last week at the farmer’s market, we scored some super fresh ears of corn. We’re talking mere hours after they’d been picked. I didn’t have them on my shopping list, but I had to have them. There is nothing like the sweet, crisp flavour of freshly picked corn.
When I was a kid, my parents grew bicolour corn in our small garden. My mother was adamant that the corn be picked no sooner then when the pot of water began to boil. If it was picked any earlier than that, the corn would quickly begin to lose sugar, a process I like to call starchification (FYI, not a real word). This is technically not true nowadays, though. Corn hybridization has made the sugars in some varieties of corn very high. In the industry, the higher sugar varieties are known as Sugary Extender (se) and Supersweet (sh2), which includes the infamous Peaches & Cream and my favourite, Honey ‘N Pearl. These varieties can be stored from as little as 2 days to as much as 10 days.
I still prefer to eat it as soon as I can get my hot little hands on it, or cook it and freeze for a later date, which is exactly what I did for this recipe. Obviously, frozen corn is cheap and abundant, so this soup could be made all year round. I’m a bit of a food snob though, and prefer my produce fresh (or frozen at the peak of freshness) and eaten as soon as possible.
As the summer draws to a close (tomorrow September 22 at 5:18 pm EDT!), I’d like to leave you with this final taste of those warm summer nights. But as the end of summer and the beginning of fall are the same day, I’m celebrating with a little bit of both. A light, summery soup served with some hot from the oven biscuits, perfect for cold fall evenings! They pair beautifully together, and these biscuits are versatile enough for any soup.
Corn & Black Bean Soup with Spinach & Feta Biscuits
1 Large Vidalia Onion (or other sweet onion)
3 cobs of sweet corn (cooked and kernels removed, which is about 4 cups of corn)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 19oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 key limes, juiced (or 1 regular lime)
1 L sodium reduced chicken broth (or homemade)
1 avocado, diced
1. Sauté onions, garlic and red pepper in canola oil until browned (you want that caramelization for flavour.) Add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
2. Add beans & corn. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
3. Add stock, bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Add lime juice.
4. Add cilantro and stir in, removing from heat.
5. Serve with avocado and biscuits (recipe follows).
Spinach & Feta Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
175g feta cheese, crumbled
200 g spinach, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced very fine
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1. In a large sauté pan, sauté spinach, garlic and green onions until softened. Add basil at very end and remove from heat.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender.
4. Combine the buttermilk, oil and egg in a separate bowl. Whisk together until completely combined.
5. Combine the milk/egg mix with the flour. Gently, stir in the spinach mixture, feta cheese and pepper.
6. Spoon into greased muffin tin (should make an equal dozen).
7. Bake at 375°F for 22- 25 minutes.
8. Serve warm with your delicious soup.