Fresh, pure, the essence of corn. Resist the urge, at least the first time, to embellish this delicious soup. It’s great hot or cold; I always freeze several jars–it’s a wonderful, and surprising, start to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners.

6 c (or 8 c) corn kernels
4-1/2 c (or 6 c) water
1 t salt, or to taste
1/4 c chopped fresh chives, or scallion tops
fresh ground white or black pepper, to taste, optional

1. Combine corn kernels, water, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart pot and bring just to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until corn is very tender, about 20 minutes, though I have found it can take longer–taste a few kernels.

2. Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and reheat gently. OR, pour pureed soup through a large medium-mesh sieve, pressing on solids, into the soup pot, discarding the solids. (I never do this; I like the texture of the pureed soup–plus, it’s one more step.)

3. If soup seems too thick for you, thin with a bit of water. Serve, hot or cold, garnished with chives and some ground white or black pepper, to taste, if you like.