Chilled Corn Chowder

 

Writer and photographer Monica Longenbaker

 
Corn on the cob makes an elegant summer starter in this recipe for Chilled Corn Chowder. Blending the kernels enhances the natural sweetness and creaminess of the corn, resulting in a silky smooth texture. Using yellow corn ensures its signature golden hue. Once chilled, the soup is dressed with crisp corn kernels, zucchini, fresh chives and a smattering of black pepper. Prepare the soup a day ahead of time and simply garnish right before serving.

Chilled Corn Chowder

Yield: 6-8 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 medium-size yellow corn on the cobs, shucked (about 5 cups)
½ cup Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups Corn Stock (see recipe)
½ cup half-and-half
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:
1 cup yellow corn kernels,
lightly grilled or sautéed
1 cup zucchini, diced,
lightly grilled or sautéed
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
olive oil for drizzling
ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the corn, Yukon gold potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the corn stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Transfer the soup to a blender (may need to do in batches), reserving about 1 cup of the liquid. Blend the soup on high speed until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine sieve and discard the solids.

Stir in the half-and-half. If the soup is too thick, add some of the reserved stock to thin it out to desired consistency (note: the soup will thicken upon cooling).

Refrigerate for at least four hours until completely chilled. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Right before serving, top with garnish: corn kernels, zucchini, chives, a light drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.

Corn Stock
5 corn cobs (kernels removed)
6 cups water
½ onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme

Place the corn cobs, water, onion, black peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme into a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, covered.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve. Discard the solids and reserve the stock for the corn chowder.

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