Corn, zucchini & tomato soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh corn tastes magical, barely cooked and cut from the cob it has an almost grassy sweet lightness that is otherwise totally lost and catapults it far, far away from possible associations with chicken feed. It only needs a minimum of dressing (butter & salt; lime & chilli; epazote) or other ingredients as company to shine like in this perfect summer salad or today’s soup. This simple dish has become an instant hit at supper time with even the most demanding of customers (small Michelin testers, only ‘slightly’ less well-mannered) and is my go-to summer soup this year.

What I originally only intended for the children is a real winner for all of us when the temperatures are high and even the thought of dinner feels like a lead weight in the stomach. Basil gives it a deserved kick and apart from salt & pepper there is no other seasoning necessary. Served lukewarm or even cold like a Gazpacho it transports well in a Thermos for a picnic or beach/pool day and can be spooned (in it’s thicker version) or sipped from cups.

Measurements or proportions are intentionally given in a lackadaisical way since the sizes of these veg can vary and I tend to use the stuff I’ve got in my veg box and anyway, who wants to fuss about a soup on a hot day?

 

More summer soups & salads: corn-tomato-basil salad; pea shooter, chickpea salad with cucumber, tomatoes & peppers, broad bean bruschette, lettuce cups with red pepper-lentil balls;

 

Corn zucchini tomato soup


Sweet corn-zucchini-tomato soup

 

2-3 ears of sweet corn
1 zucchino / courgette
3-6 tomatoes or 1/3 bottle tomato passata
chicken or vegetable stock
salt, pepper
basil

 

Cut the corn of the cob and chop all other ingredients. Place in a saucepan with a little chicken stock to taste and cook for the briefest of time, maybe 10 minutes. Season, add freshly torn basil, puree and pass through a sieve to get rid of all the corn kernel skins for a smoother soup. Serve a thicker puree/soup for small babies and a thinner version for more adult eaters at room temperature or even cooled.

 

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salmon fish cakes

salmon fish cakes by the james kitchen
salmon fish cakes, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.

Make leftovers for Fish cakes. As I said before, we always use any leftover white fish or salmon for fish cakes and you should plan an extra portion for some to be made for supper or freezing during the next 5 days. They can be easily frozen for an instant and hardly-any-work lunch supper, too and are absolutely delicious. This salmon-dill version with mustard and a little cheddar (you can leave the cheese out without any problems) which we made a few weeks ago is a great one.

Salmon-dill fish cakes
makes 4 servings

200g (7 oz) salmon, steamed or baked (best to make one extra portion of saumon en papillote for this)
about 150g (a little more than 5 oz) potatoes, mashed
chopped fresh dill (to taste)
1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon English mustard powder (Coleman’s)
1 pinch paprika
salt & white pepper
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon plain flour
a handful of coarsely grated cheddar
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk (half of this for the fish cakes, the other half for dredging)
flour
breadcrumbs
oil

Carefully break the salmon into pieces, do not mash them up totally. Press the potatoes through a ricer (or use mashed potatoes) and add along with the dill, mustards, mustard powder, paprika, salt & pepper, breadcrumbs, flour, cheddar and half of the beaten egg & milk. Mix all together until combined, form little cakes about the size of small apricots and flatten them a little bit. Place on a sheet and let them rest for about 10-30 minutes in the fridge while you clear up and prepare the dredging station. Turn each fish cake in the flour, then the egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes for about 5 minutes over medium heat and about 2 on the other side. Serve with a crispy salad and a yoghurt-mustard dressing and more dill. Pickled gherkins or cucumbers, too.

To freeze: make the cakes up to the point where they are covered in flour and place the naked but floured cakes in a single layer on a sheet, cover with cling film (plastic/ceran wrap) and freeze individually so that they do not cling together, afterwards they can be placed in a freezer bag.

Cook from frozen: Take as many out as you need for dinner, preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F), dust the frozen cakes with a little more flour, dredge in an egg mixed with the milk (obviously you will need a new egg here) and breadcrumbs and fry these in a skillet with a little oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side to a light brown colour. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment or kitchen roll (kitchen towel) to absorb some of the surplus oil and warm for 20-30 minutes, turning the cakes over once. Leaving them in a little longer if you need to is not a problem.