Chill Out


This silky, decadent bisque is just the thing for special summer entertaining. It is best made a day in advance so the flavors can marry. The colors and flavors are vibrant, and nothing is lost to serving the soup at a cool—not icy—temperature. The quick crab salad on top dresses things up. 

  1. Chopped, boiled, chilled shrimp may be substituted for the crabmeat
  2. Substitute coconut or almond milk and a vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance, for the whole milk and butter to make a dairy-free version
  3. Make this soup with other in-season vegetables such as avocado, zucchini, carrot, potato, green peas—you can use just about anything.

Chilled Summer Corn Bisque with and Jumbo Lump Crab Salad and Chive Oil

Serves 4 

9 medium ears corn

4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped

2 cups whole milk

Kosher salt and ground white pepper

8 ounces jumbo lump Gulf crabmeat, picked over for shells

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Chive Oil (recipe follows)


1. Husk the corn and cut the kernels from the cobs to yield 5 cups. Set the cobs aside. 

2. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the corn kernels (cover and refrigerate) and add the rest to the pan. Add the milk, 1-1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer.

3. Holding a cob over the pot, scrape it with the dull side of a knife to release some of the corn milk. Add the cob to the pot, breaking it in half to fit, if necessary. Repeat with the remaining cobs. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the corn kernels are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Discard the corn cobs and purée the soup in batches using a blender or food processor. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois, pressing hard on the solids with a ladle to extract as much liquid as possible. Refrigerate the soup until cold, preferably overnight or up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, remove the soup from the refrigerator to take off some of the chill, about 20 minutes. You want it cool, but the flavors will be muted if it is too cold.

5. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped shallot, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved 1/2 cup corn, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely.

6. In a medium bowl, combine the corn, crab, chives, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few sprinkles of white pepper. Toss gently to combine. Season to taste with more salt, white pepper, and lemon juice as desired.

7. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the soup, and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Divide among bowls, add a swirl of chive oil over the soup, then garnish with a spoonful of the crab and corn mixture.


Chive Oil

Makes about 11/2 cups

Gently heating chives–or almost any herb–in oil creates a concentrated, brilliantly colored finishing touch that is just the thing for whisking into vinaigrettes and drizzling over fish, scrambled eggs, crostini, or anything that needs some zippity do dah.

3 bunches fresh chives

11/2 cups grapeseed or vegetable oil


1. Set a coffee filter in a sieve set over a heatproof measuring cup or bowl.

2. Purée chives and oil in a blender until emulsified. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is sizzling, about 3 minutes.

3. Remove the chive oil from heat and strain though prepared sieve (do not press on solids or oil will be cloudy); let cool. This oil can be made one week in advance. Store in a squeeze-top bottle with a small nozzle. Cover and chill.

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