Shrimp and corn soup is as commonly found as gumbo on Cajun restaurant menus. Most – in fact, all – recipes I’ve seen for this classic use canned creamed corn, and usually canned corn as well. I developed this recipe using only fresh (or fresh-frozen) corn. The puréed corn has a surprisingly velvety texture and adds just the right body and a better corn flavor. It’s equally good using crabmeat or crawfish in place of the shrimp.
8 T. unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 c. chopped onion, NOT super sweet
1 T. minced garlic
3/4 c. finely chopped bell peppers – red, green, yellow or a combination, plus an additional 1/4 c. red peppers for garnish, optional
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 T. seeded and minced jalapeno, or more if desired, optional
1/2 c. all-purpose, unbleached flour
4 c. cooked corn kernels, fresh or frozen, liquid reserved (approx. 6-8 ears)
4 c. whole milk, at room temperature
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, and halved lengthwise if large.
Kosher or sea salt, freshly ground white pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
1 c. minced scallions, green and white parts separated
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, 3/4 c. bell peppers, celery and jalapenos (if using) and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture (called a roux) is very lightly browned, 2-5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. In a blender or food processor, purée 2 cups of the corn until smooth and add to the saucepan along with the whole corn kernels and their liquid. Bring to the lowest possible simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Stir in the white parts of the scallions. Season to taste with the salt and peppers. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve immediately, garnished with the green parts of the scallions and diced red pepper, if using.