6 ears corn, shucked
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 sprigs thyme
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 8-ounce ham steak, diced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 scallions, chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
Slice the corn kernels off the cob and reserve the cobs. Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over high heat. Add the thyme, onion, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and all but 1/2 cup each corn kernels and ham; cook 1 minute. Add the potatoes, corn cobs and 5 cups water. Cover and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the reserved corn kernels and ham and cook until the ham is browned, about 6 minutes. Add the scallions and cook until softened, about 1 minute.
Remove the corn cobs from the soup and discard. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the corn-ham mixture.
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