1 1/2Tbspextra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
1smallred onion, thinly sliced
1stalkcelery, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
5-6mediumred or yellow potatoes, with peel, cut in fourths
2 cupsgrilled corn kernals(roughly 4 ears of corn)
1/2mediumred pepper, seeded & coarsly chopped
1/2tspred pepper flakes(optional)
1 pinch black pepper, to taste
Heat a heavy soup pot on medium, and then add EVOO or butter. When the fat has become hot, add red onion and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally—you want the onion to soften and brown, which will give it a delicious depth and flavor.
Add celery and cook another 5 minutes.
Add potatoes and bay leaf and water just to cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
Add thyme, milk, corn, red pepper, and pepper flakes; cook until red pepper is tender (about 10 minutes).
If you want a thick, very creamy soup, add heavy cream at this point, and bring up heat to incorporate it. (Heavy cream does not separate when boiled or heated on high; cream labeled whipping cream does.)
Taste for seasoning; the soup will probably taste very flat, because potatoes are salt sinks. Add salt bit by bit until you like the flavor. Grind in some black pepper and add butter; stir until it melts.
Stack 3–4 basil leaves, roll them up, and slice them thinly on the diagonal. When you serve the soup, sprinkle the basil ribbons on top.