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 & BaconServes 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.