Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Corn And Crab Chowder

Simple, fresh, satisfying.

There's something about the summers up here: One day a little warm and sunny, another day foggy and cool, yet another warm in the sun, cold in the shade. It's chowder weather.

The last of December's crab catch combined with fresh, local vegetables and this gentle corn stock make a very satisfying meal-in-a-bowl. If you don't happen to have crab on hand, use scallops or a thick white fish such as halibut or cod. I think catfish would work as well.
If you're vegetarian, skip the fish business entirely. Vegans can be assured that this chowder will still be wonderful without the dairy.

The important thing is to use the freshest ingredients you can find. Enjoy!

Christine's Corn and Crab Chowder
1 quart corn stock
2 yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 fennel bulb, cut in half again and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8-10 yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
corn kernels and corn milk cut from 4 ears of corn (save the cobs for your next stock)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, heaping, crushed
1/2 cup half 'n half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound crab meat (fresh is best, freshly frozen is a good substitute)

Bring the stock to a simmer in a large pot.
Add the carrots and fennel and cook for about 7 minutes or until they are just tender.
Add the summer squash, corn and tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes more.
Add the crushed thyme and crab and cook until the crab is heated through.
Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Gently stir in the cream and half 'n half and your chowder is ready to serve.

Cook's Notes:
Use whatever summer vegetables you have available for this chowder but avoid broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and others of that nature as they will overpower the stock.
The addition of a little dry white wine wouldn't be a bad thing at all.

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