Summer Sweet Corn Soup

As seen in August 2014 Still Hungry?

Chef Mark Kiffin

Chef Mark Kiffin of The Compound Restaurant

July has come and gone—the monsoons have graced us with their delicious rains and our parched desert sighs with relief as it exhales the most intoxicating earthen scents. What a rich, romantic time of year here in the high desert! And what better way to payculinary homage to the climax of summertime than with the words and recipes of one of our most esteemed chefs? This month, Mark Kiffin, chef and owner of one of Santa Fe’s historic landmarks, The Compound Restaurant, shares with us some of his favorite “summer fun” recipes—from sweet corn soup to lobster salad and diver scallops to glazed peaches with cream cheese icecream.

Chef Mark Kiffin’s skill and reputation, along with his restaurant’s historic Canyon Road setting, are among the reasons Santa Fe is a renowned culinary destination. Chef Mark explains that chefs outside of New Mexico “know Santa Fe from the work I and Mark Miller have done in town for the last 25 years. Plus, just like the tourists from Texas, Colorado and California, they come for all the things Santa Fe is known for: art and culture and the great outdoors.”

Named the Best Chef of the Southwest in 2011 by the James Beard Association, Kiffin’s role at The Compound is dual: he is the restaurant’s chef and the curator of its historic landmark building. Last year, The Compound was named a Culinary Treasure by the State of New Mexico Tourism Department. “The award was given to those in business 40 years plus. The fact that we’ve been such an important place to so many people for so long means we just keep growing, succeeding and trying to do our best for our guests,” says Kiffin. The Compoundis coming up on 50 years of operation. While food has remained exceptional throughout the chef’s tenure, the building has seen some changes in the past couple of years. “We just upgraded our dining room with a new beeswax wall treatment, all new banco upholstery and chairs,” Chef Mark says, and just last year, The Compound installed an Allan Houser sculpture garden.

With the Wine and Chile Fiesta coming up next month, we Flavorites were curious what this creative chef has up his sleeve for the event. Mark laughs—he says it’s “still a secret what we have planned for this year.” Needless to say, we can’t wait to find out, and until then, we can’t think of a better place to sit and enjoy the scents and sounds and tastes of late summer than The Compound’s beautiful patio.

Yield 4 servings

1-1 ½ quarts light vegetable stock

3 ears sweet corn, shucked and cut off the cob

2 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup cream, optional

Bring vegetable stock to a simmer, add corn and scallion, season to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and return to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream now if using. The corn should be tender but still sweet and not starchy. Place in blender and puree at high speed until completely smooth and slightly foamy. For a thinner consistency, strain. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.

For the vegetable relish, I like to see what looks the best at the market: zucchini, yellow squash, peas, green beans or baby onions. Chop, if necessary, and pan roast with a little whole butter and a touch of vegetable stock and finish with freshly chopped basil or parsley.

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