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Impress the guests

Posted: Friday, Sep. 28, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Lots of folks ask what is easy to cook to impress a dinner quest or family and friends. I always answer the same way: nothing is easy when you are trying to impress.

The point is, if you really want to impress someone, you have to go the extra mile, do something unexpected; and work a little bit harder.

Small details in cooking mean the most, like making stock for example. The charred corn stock for this chowder is sure to make quite the impression on anybody you feel deserving enough of your extra effort.

Charred Corn & Shrimp Chowder with Blue Cheese & Bacon

Serves 4 to 6

Step One: Stock*

6 Ears Sweet Corn Cob, parboiled 10 minutes, grill until slightly charred, remove kernels from cob, separate into thirds and set aside
12 Cups Water
Pinch Kosher Salt

Bring water to a boil, add salt and corn. Boil for 12 minutes, remove and rinse under cold water to cool, keep water simmering. Cut off corn and separate into thirds, place cobs back into the simmering water for 30 minutes to make stock. Strain stock and refrigerate.

Step Two: Vegetables

1/2 Pound Bacon, sliced into thin strips, cooked, drained, reserve bacon grease
1 Cup Carrots, peeled and small diced
1/4 Cup Red Onions, small diced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped fine
1/3 of Charred Corn Kernels

Warm 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, garlic and first third of the charred corn kernels to. Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Step Three: Milk

2 Quarts Whole Milk
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Add the milk, salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes

Step Four: Stock

1/3 of Charred Corn Kernels
8 Cups Corn Stock strained and cooled, if stock doesn’t measure 8 cups add water
1/2 Cups Flour

Remove corn stock from the refrigerator and whisk in the flour, a little at a time until all is incorporated. Add to the corn stock, the second third of the charred corn kernels and simmer another 30 to 45 minutes until chowder thickens. If chowder becomes too thick add a little water at a time to desired thickness.

Step Five: Finishing

1/3 of Charred Corn Kernels
1 Pound 16/20 Shrimp-peeled and deveined**
8 Fresh Basil-leaves only; stack and roll up, slice into thin strips
Reserved Bacon from Step Two
1/2 Cup Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

Add shrimp and remaining corn, stir to combine, cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp are just cooked through and remove from heat.

To serve, ladle chowder into bowls and garnish with blue cheese, bacon and basil.

*Alternate Stock Method: use boxed vegetable or chicken stock in place of the charred corn stock.

**Alternate Shrimp Method: oil, season and grill the shrimp and top the chowder when serving.

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