Corn and Crab Chowder, or, A Faltering Farewell to Summer

You may be wondering what it is with us and corn these days. Let us explain. Corn, in these parts, is the essence of summer. It's the color of sunshine and has the sweetness of candy. If it's not "knee-high by the Fourth of July," we, likely with untanned faces, are lamenting the uncooperative weather. Vast cornfields shimmer along back roads, cobs on tall stalks reaching like hands to touch the sun's rays. There are even some brave souls who attempt to grow corn in their own little yards. You can buy it by the ear, by the dozen, or even by the bushel. Yes, corn is summer. And we are teachers. Two teachers who are loath to give up, give in, and accept that fall is indeed here. Which means that as long as there is corn at the Farmers' Market, we're going to be eating it...on the cob, in risotto, wherever. It is our own unique form of culinary denial.

So today we give you the makings of a fine chowder, or bisque, or whatever you choose to call it. We have made it from fresh butter-sugar corn and jumbo lump crab meat. The summery ingredients are reminiscent of the hot season, while the fact that it's a creamy soup makes it a perfect cool-night-in-fall dish. Our friend Joanne called it "divine," and, while we don't like to brag, we agree. Amazing fresh corn and sweet, luscious lump crab are lightly blended into a velvety cream base for a rich, smooth, yummy mouthful of soup/chowder/bisque. Especially nice for dipping crusty French bread!

6 ears of fresh corn on the cob, peeled
1 1/2 quarts heavy cream
2 cups jumbo lump crabmeat
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (no substitutes!)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (we use Tony Chachere's)
2 teaspoons (more or less to taste) freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
(Note there is no salt. That is because there is plenty in the Creole seasoning. If your seasoning does not contain salt, be sure to add some.)

Set aside a few green onions or a couple of lumps of crab, or pop some popcorn for a nice garnish. Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan and set over low heat. Shuck the corn and remove the corn from the cobs (you should have about five cups' worth of fresh corn kernels). Place the cobs in the heavy cream to infuse the cream with flavor. Do not allow the cream to boil. Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent (8-10 minutes). Add the corn kernels and sprinkle with flour. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the corn cobs from the cream and add the cream to the corn/onion mixture. Stir in the white pepper and Creole seasoning. Lower heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure it doesn't boil. Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender to desired consistency. Then stir in green onions and gently fold in the crabmeat. Return to low heat, cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Garnish as desired and serve hot with crusty French bread. Freezes nicely.

1 comment:

jck said...

Divine, restaurant-worthy, even sublime. ;-)