Yes, I’m sharing soup in August (again). Bear with me, guys. I promise I haven’t lost my marbles.
Soup in August is not…the most appealing thing to everyone. And I COMPLETELY understand, especially when we’ve been smack dab in the middle of a horrible heat wave these past few weeks. I get it.
I just so happen to be a soup freak and could eat it at least once a day, every day of the year. And this time of year makes me especially greedy about summer corn. It’s almost over, people! We have to eat as much summer corn as we possibly can! We’ve been eating it at almost every meal for about six weeks now, and as long as I can my hands on good corn, that will continue to be true. See last year’s proof here and here that I firmly believe that we need to take full advantage (relevant side bar: both those soup recipes are among the most popular on the blog. So maybe I’m not so crazy? Maybe you guys get me more than I think?). Hey, at least I’m consistent with my year-round soup obsession? And yearly corn hoarding?
Anyway. Apology time is over. Because I’m sorry I’m not sorry for making you delicious soup in August.
It’s no secret that ramen is one of my most favorite ways to enjoy soup. I’ve made it a handful of times (see here and here), and it appears you all enjoy it too because those recipes are also some of the most popular on the blog. Soup lovers unite! And while I get that sitting over a hot bowl of steamy soup in 90-degree, 95% humidity weather is not for everyone, I can promise you this: this ramen is so totally worth the extra fan blowing on your face or the huge glass of icy water (or beer!) you have to chug along with it.
We’ve got loads of flavor going on, most of which are centered around late summer bounty. I’m talking deliciously ripe heirloom cherry tomatoes that get sweet and roasty and loads of fresh sweet corn cut right off the cobs. Fresh herbs and loads of lime juice brighten and lighten things up a bit, too. The broth is decadently rich with flavor and serves as the perfect backdrop to the sweet summer produce. And that salty, crispy bacon and buttery egg yolk just ties it allll together. What else is new?
Trust me, this just works.
The other thing I love about making somewhat involved soup recipes like this is that I never get bored. Like, ever. There are so many fun and varied textures and flavors going on, and anytime slurpy noodles are involved, I’m a happy camper. You can also very easily customize recipes like this to meet your own preferences. Not an egg fan? Leave them out. Sub in some cooked chicken instead. Not a coconut fan? Leave it out of the broth. Prefer different herbs over cilantro? Swap it. Are you a heat freak? Throw some hot peppers into your broth to infuse or dump on the hot sauce before eating. Before you know it, you’ll have your perfect bowl of soup.
While all the add-in components are really easy to prep, the broth does take some time and will taste better the longer it hangs out to let the flavors meld. It also can be made days in advance. Anytime I’m making ramen for weeknight dinners, I almost always make the broth a few days ahead (like on a weekend when I have a little bit more time and a husband around to tend to my toddler, hah). It keeps well in the fridge and can even be frozen for colder months when soup is more appropriate (but the summer corn is long gone!). In fact, when I made this exact batch of broth, I froze half of it immediately, summer corn and all. That will be a delightful freezer meal in November. I’ll pat myself on the back now AND then.
And despite your best attempt to scoff at ramen in August, I think you just might pat me on the back to once you get over that and try out this recipe. Because maybe that corn and tomato thing is starting to convince you? Maybe you are starting to buy into my soup freakness? C’mon. You know you wanna.
So. Worth. It.
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Red pepper flakes, to taste (I used about ½ teaspoon)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 ears of fresh corn
1 (15-oz) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (add more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (or more to taste)
2 cups mixed cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Reserved cooked bacon (from making the broth)
The blistered tomatoes
2-3 packages dried ramen noodles, depending on how many people you are serving (discard the included seasoning packets)
¼ cup finely diced red onion
4-6 eggs (I usually do 1 egg per person)
Scallions and fresh cilantro, chopped
Place a pot over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Render until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside (this will be used as a garnish later).
To the drippings, add the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and sauté for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and red pepper flakes and stir until incorporated. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and then strain out and discard the aromatics (garlic, ginger, and lemongrass).
While the broth is simmering, carefully cut the kernels off the corn cobs.
Stir the corn, coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, and toasted sesame oil into the broth and simmer for 10 minutes more or until the corn is tender. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Keep warm until you are ready to serve. The broth can be made a few days ahead and stored in the fridge until you are ready for it.
While the broth is simmering, make the tomatoes by heating up a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and once hot, add the tomatoes along with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss the tomatoes to evenly coat them in the oil/seasonings and then leave them undisturbed for 1-2 minutes, or until they begin to blister. Shake the pan once or twice and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and reserve until you are ready to serve.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add your eggs into the boiling water and simmer for 5-6 minutes (5 minutes will yield a very runny yolk and firm white). Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the water (do not drain the pot!) and set them in an ice bath to cool completely. Once cool, carefully peel the eggs under running cold water. Set aside.
Return the pot of water to a simmer. Add the ramen noodles and cook for 2 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
To assemble, divide the noodles, cooked bacon, and blistered tomatoes between serving bowls. Ladle over the hot broth, ensuring that each bowl gets a good amount of the corn, and garnish each bowl with soft-boiled eggs, chopped cilantro, scallions, finely diced red onion, and hot sauce. Serve immediately with lots of lime wedges.
To ease the prep of this meal, I usually prepare the different components in stages. For instance, I’ll make the broth (including the crispy bacon) and tomatoes a day or two ahead, storing them in the fridge until I need them, and cook off the eggs and noodles just before serving. The broth is easily reheated on the stove or in a microwave; its hot temperature is enough to warm up the tomatoes and other prepped ingredients. Even the garnishes can be prepped a little bit ahead, although prepping them as close to serving time is always best.