Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day is the first book from Tara O'Brady, the culinary and photography mastermind behind the Seven Spoons blog. Her recipes are delicious, wholesome and totally inventive. Tara's voice shines through in every recipe, which makes reading the book a complete joy. All the recipes we've made have been winners for every member of our family.
Tara graciously shared this gorgeous recipe for a corn and tomato soup with us — give it a try and be sure to check out Seven Spoons.
You're most likely familiar with elote, slathered grilled corn on the cob in a mixture of mayonnaise, chile powder, lime, salt, and cheese that is popular in Mexico. One summer dinner when we had more than the expected number at the table and not enough cobs for one per person, I stripped the corn into one big bowl and served from there. That was the night I learned about esquites, the Mexican street snack of boiled or sautéed corn kernels, finished like elote. Esquites not only makes corn go further, but also makes the eating neater, if that's a concern, and easier for those who have trouble with biting from the cob. (Parents with children of teeth-losing age, bookmark this page.)
Here, I take those flavors and whizz them into a cool gazpacho. The soup is vividly bright and refreshing, yet lush on the spoon. It suits the heat of high summer, on both the nights when you feel you can swim through the humidity and those that bake you dry. The corn, tomatoes, peppers, and onion create a layered sweetness, and then the vinegar dives straight through it all.
I prefer this soup without a burn; the poblano cream continues the vinegar's twang, with the emphasis on the fruity qualities of the pepper rather than its heat. The production is low effort, and the result is as irresistible as its predecessors.
RECIPE: Esquites and Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
ears yellow or bicolor corn, husked and snapped in two
1¼pounds yellow tomatoes, stemmed
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and
2 slices hearty white bread, ideally stale,
each 1 inch thick, crusts removed
¼cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, plus more as
Medium-grain salt and freshly ground black
2 to 3 tablespoons
extra-virgin olive oil
bunch of cilantro, leaves and tender stems chopped, plus a few sprigs left
whole for garnish
ounce cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup crema or sour cream
Medium-grain kosher salt
and freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne or smoked paprika (optional)
To make the soup, fill a biggish bowl with cold water and ice.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water liberally.
Plunge the corn into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. When the time's up,
submerge the cobs in the ice water for 3 minutes, then transfer to a rimmed
baking sheet. While the corn cools, keep the pot of water at a boil. With a
paring knife, cut a small cross into the bottom of each tomato. Carefully drop
the tomatoes into the boiling water and let them bob for 20 seconds. Lift the
tomatoes from the pot and plunge into the ice water. Once cool, peel, core, and
chop the tomatoes.
In a blender,
process the onion, garlic, and bell pepper into a paste. Scrape down the sides
of the carafe, then add the bread in chunks, followed by the almonds, and
Slice the corn
kernels from the cobs. Set aside approximately ¾ cup (180 g) kernels for
garnish, then add the rest of the corn to the blender, along with the chopped
tomatoes. Puree the vegetables until absolutely velvety, about 3 minutes. Pour
in 1½ teaspoons of the vinegar, a generous pinch of salt, and some pepper.
Process again. With the motor running, add most of the olive oil in a thin,
steady stream through the hole in the blender's lid. Pop the lid's stopper back
into place and let the machine run for a good while, maybe 2 minutes more,
until the liquid is silky and emulsified. Stop the blender, taste, adding more
of the remaining 1½ teaspoons vinegar, salt, or oil, as needed. The flavors
will dull when chilled, so they should be more than convincing now. Flip the
motor on for another 30 seconds, then pour the soup into a serving bowl or
pitcher. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.
About an hour
before you're looking to eat, make the chile cream. Char the poblano over a gas
flame or under a broiler, turning regularly until blackened on all sides, 7 to
10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to steam for
about 20 minutes. Stem, peel, seed, and chop the chile, and add to a blender or
food processor with the cilantro and cheese. Blitz to a fine green and white
confetti. Scrape down the sides, pour in the crema, add a few grinds of pepper,
and blend again. Taste, then season as needed with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate
To serve, in a
small bowl, squeeze the juice from half the lime over the shallot. Sprinkle in
some salt and pepper and leave at room temperature to marinate, stirring now
Right before serving, peel, seed, and dice the avocado. Fold the
avocado into the pickled shallot. Ladle the chilled soup into bowls, top with
the reserved corn, avocado, chile cream, cilantro leaves, and cayenne powder.
Cut the remaining lime half into wedges and place in a bowl on the table. Eat.
word on breaking the cobs of corn in half: doing so will allow a smaller pot
for boiling, and will give a flat base for removing the kernels later.
For those who look for pep
in their chiles, use 2 to 3 jalapeños instead of the poblano in the cream. And
in regard to that cream, it can instead be made with a pestle and mortar or by
cutting by hand, yielding a brawny variation on the theme.