A version of corn and crab soup originated in North American Chinese cuisine and was featured in nearly every Chinese-American restaurant back in the 1970s. The two main ingredients naturally complement and amplify each other’s sweetness.
The Chinese version uses beaten egg as a thickener and is served heated. My version needs no thickener and brings into play Jack Czarnecki’s Oregon White Truffle Oil. The intense, mystical flavor of this oil plays off the sweetness of the corn and crab like a flower in the lapel of a hand-tailored suit. It’s the cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae.
There are some who don’t like the flavor of truffles or their infused oils. Fortunately, I’m not one of those unfortunates. Words used to describe the flavor and aroma of truffles are: Moldy, garlicky, natural gas, cabbagey, earthy, muddy. I spurn those words and suggest “heavenly!”
“From Jack Czarnecki’s kitchen at the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon comes the first all-natural truffle oil ever produced in the United States. Flavored entirely from wild Oregon white truffles, this unique white truffle oil – with its rich, sumptuous flavor and aroma – will enhance your personal larder with a truly unique culinary treasure. No less an authority than James Beard declared in 1983 that Oregon white truffles are at least as good as their Italian cousins.” ~ www.oregontruffleoil.com
In 2009, Saveur Magazine wrote:
“…though many producers augment their product (truffle oil) with a chemical compound that mimics the truffles’ taste and aroma, making for a more potent but less refined taste, WE PREFER THE PURER CHARACTER OF ALL-NATURAL OILS LIKE THE JOEL PALMER HOUSE OREGON WHITE TRUFFLE OIL, WHICH CONTAINS THE ESSENCE OF OREGON TRUFFLES (It’s the ONLY truffle oil currently sold in this country containing domestically grown truffles).” – Saveur Magazine April 2009
Vic and I had the pleasure of trekking through a cool, damp grove of young Douglas firs in Yamhill County with Jack a few years ago and returned home with a nice bounty of white truffles and even a couple of large black truffles. When I told Jack about anointing a chilled cream of corn soup with his oil, his face lit up with a broad smile of approval, and he suggested adding dried onion and mushroom powder to the ingredients.
Chilled Cream of Corn and Crab Soup with White Truffle Oil
Inspired by a similar recipe in Bon Appétit – June 2000
Makes 4-6 servings
- 5 ears of fresh corn
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 cup shallots, minced
- 3 tablespoons minced dried onion
- 1 tablespoon porcini mushroom powder*
- 6 cups chicken stock or water
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ½ pound fresh lump crab meat or more to taste
- 1 cup cream or Half and Half
- Oregon White Truffle Oil
- Fresh chives, minced for garnish
* I make my own porcini powder from dried porcinis from the supermarket. You may need to dry further in a 250°F oven until crisp and then grind to a powder in a spice grinder. (My spice grinder is a coffee mill re-designated for spices.)
- Cut the corn kernels from the cobs.
- Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.
- Sauté the shallots until tender, about 2-4 minutes.
- Add the dried onion, porcini powder, corn kernels, stock and wine.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Purée the soup, in batches, in a food processor until smooth.
- Allow the processed soup to cool off for about 1 hour then stir in the cream or Half and Half.
- Chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours or as long as 2 days.
Note: When I want to quick chill a hot dish, I place the container in my sink and surround it with icy water. I then take a plastic bottle of water, which has been frozen solid in the freezer, and stir the soup for awhile until the temperature drops low enough to refrigerate.
- Ladle chilled soup into bowls then top with a generous amount of crab.
- Drizzle some truffle oil on top and garnish with fresh minced chives.
Whether you serve this as an appetizer or a main course, it’s deserving of popping open a nice dry Oregon sparkling wine.