“Ugh, corn again.” That’s what we found ourselves saying when we saw the 2 ears in our CSA each week. After 3 months of corn on a weekly basis, no matter how sweet those kernels were, nor how much we tried to transform them into something else, it was overkill. The same was true with our local scallops, which we consumed weekly all summer. We needed a break (first world problems) or some inspiration.
My fishmonger said most people were sick of clams by now, which is why he put them on sale when the cooler weather arrived. And then I knew how to use up the 4 ears of corn I had left – a chowder! (It was that or freeze the ears.) So I took advantage of the clam sale, and added some additional minced clams and clam juice to enhance the seafood flavor. Just make sure you soak and clean the fresh clams well so that there’s no sand in your soup.
Fresh Corn & Clam Chowder
4 ears of corn, shucked
2 dozen fresh littleneck clams
4 oz of pancetta or 3 slices of bacon
2 tbsps of butter
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup of celery, finely chopped
1 small hot pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes, finely cubed
1/4 cup of dry white wine
1 small bottle of clam juice
1 8 oz can of minced clams
2 dried bay leaves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 or heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Old Bay seasoning
When I start cooking, I like to get my ingredients ready first.
Place each of corn in bowl and cut kernels from the cob. Set aside. Scrub and rinse clams. Set aside.
In large stockpot over medium heat, saute pancetta for 5 minutes until slightly brown and fat is rendered. Then lower temp to medium low, add butter. When melted, add onions, celery, hot pepper and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add potatoes. Cook for another minute.
Add corn. Cook for another 2 minutes. Then add in wine, clam juice, minced clams, bay leaves and thyme. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the fresh clams and cover until steamed through. Remove the fresh clams and set aside.
To serve: For a dramatic effect, ladle soup to fill bowl halfway, top with some fresh clams and another ladle full of soup. Or if you don’t want the mess for your guests, remove all the clams from the shells and add back to the soup.
To drink: any dry white is fine or one of the many fall craft brews that are out now. It’s pumpkin season people!