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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roadside Truck Corn: Silver Queen Chowder.

We have been enjoying fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from our garden all week.  The garage Kirbys picked from the trellis and the Principe Burghese heirloom grape tomatoes plucked from thier vines have worked their way into every meal as lightly dressed sweet sliced salads. A mother load of glistening fresh Silver Queen corn purchsed from a roadside pickup truck has appeared, along with the cucumbers and tomatoes, in many forms during our nightly meals.  We've had grilled corn on the cob, sauteed corn,  and creamed corn. This particular Silver Queen haul was so sweet and fresh.  Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.
I got home from work yesterday and opened the refirgerator to plan our dinner. Usually I have mentally planned, cooked, and eaten our dinner by 7:30 am, but felt a little free-spirited yesterday. What to cook? Let the refrigerator tell me. It was hard to not notice corn silks splayed from the vegetable bin as if I had planted them there as a reminder to use them.  Corn.  Again. Hmmm.

Michael's fantasically crisp gooey grilled cheese sandwiches would pair beautifully with......corn chowder.

Simple garden fresh corn chowder.

I diced carrots, onions, celery, new potatoes, and black bell pepper about the same size of corn kernals.  After heating butter and oilve oil in a dutch oven, I sauteed 3 thick-cut slabs of bacon and set aside on paper towels to drain and crisp up.  I tossed the vegetables into the sizzling bacon fat with salt and pepper to caramelize and soften.  When translucent and sweet smelling, I deglazed the pot with white wine and let it reduce by half.  Once the wine had coated the vegetables with velvet acidity, I added chicken stock to cook the candied mirepoix/holy trinity, finishing it with heavy cream.

As the soup base simmered, I sliced the corn kernels off the cob into a large bowl. Using  my dad's technique, I cut the tops of the kernels off with a knife almost halving them and scraped the remaining  corn with the back of the knife, milking the cob for all the precious juice trapped in each corn hole.  A large bowl insured cob milk capture. 

Once the creamy wine and stock infused soup base had returned to a gentle simmer, I dropped the corn and corn milk into the chowder to cook briefly. Very briefly.

I ladled the chowder into soup bowls, topped it with the reserved crisp salty bacon, showered it with fresh chives, salt, and pepper.  Because it's raining grape tomatoes in our back yard right now, I added quartered tiny tomatoes for a fresh  burst of sweetness.

Cooking the corn for a short amount of time left it crunchy, firm, and full of  natural sugar.  That texture played into the utter fabulous fat of the cream  and the sweet tender carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes.  The bacon gave the expected crunch and saltiness while the chives jumped with grassy verdancy. The ever present tomatoes were fresh, juicy, and explosive.  Cleansing and pleasing.

A final dollop of zested lime sour cream  brightened the silken sleepy cream chowder.

Michael's grilled onion dill pickled filled grilled cheese sandwiches sealed the deal. Dip or eat?  Eat or dip?
Both.  Perfect.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Chowder on a 91 degree hot summer evening?  Why not?   It was so right,. So delicate, soft, sweet and savory.

And fresh.

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