10 medium ears of corn, shucked
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces lean bacon, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1 celery rib, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves, for garnish
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground white pepper
Set a box grater in a wide, shallow bowl and coarsely grate 6 ears of corn; you should have 2 cups of grated corn. Cut the kernels from the remaining 4 ears; you should have 2 cups of kernels.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the bacon, celery, onion and yellow pepper, cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the grated corn, the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring often, until the soup is thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and the cayenne pepper and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the corn kernels to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until they are lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Season with salt. Stir the cooked corn kernels into the soup and keep warm.
In a blender, whip the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks, about 20 seconds. Add the sour cream, jalapeño, chopped cilantro and lemon juice and blend until thick. Season with salt and white pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top with spoonfuls of jalapeño crema and cilantro leaves and serve at once.
bacon recipe source: Wolfgang Puck, Food & Wine, August 2007