From Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa
Spa Recipes from Rancho La Puerta
In Mexico, fresh corn is roasted or grilled until smoky-sweet and deliciously chewy. For this classic chowder, the corn is pan-roasted, then cooked to a golden velvet with leeks and aromatic vegetables.
Founder Deborah Szekeley and Chef Jesus Gonzales like to give food a quick last touch as it is served. It might be as simple as a quick sauté of leeks, corn and peppers for this corn soup, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over tomatoes and basil or a dash of fennel powder on grilled fish. That last touch always lifts each fish a notch, adding freshness and flavor, a hint of texture or temperature contrast and eye appeal.
4 ears sweet corn, white or yellow, shucked and silk removed
2 Leeks, white part only, washed and cut into ½ inch dice
2 ½ teaspoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch dice
½ stalk celery, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
5 cups basic vegetable stock, or water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon minced chives
Rancho La Puerta, Baja California, Mexico
- Over a medium blow, cut off the corn kernels with a knife. You should have about 2 ½ cups
- In a lightly oiled, heavy bottom sauté pan, sear the corn in batches over medium heat until it has a few black spots.
- Set aside ½ cup of the corn and ¼ cup each of the diced leeks and peppers. In a 4-quart pot, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining corn, leeks, peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf and salt.
- Cook until the vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf. In a blender or food processor , puree soup until smooth. Add the black pepper and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if desired.
- Just before serving, sauté the reserved corn, leeks, and peppers in the remaining ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and add them to the hot soup. To serve ladle the soup into 6 warmed bowls and garnish with a pinch of chives.