There is absolutely nothing like being able to use multiple freshly picked or caught ingredients in a single dish. Nothing. And not much better than such, either.
For those of you reading who don’t know me personally, I am experiencing my first year of being the Manager of the Wakefield Farmers Market in Wakefield MA, which is currently in its third season. And, I am loving it! (A shout out thank you to Kelli Stromski and Maura Racamato who co-managed the first two seasons and are responsible for its ongoing success!)
Anyway, all the vendors to which I refer are at our market, in case you are wondering who I am talking about!
I had corn from Kelly’s Farm, garlic and onion from Farmer Dave, tomatoes from Charlton Orchards and Farmer Dave, green onion and squash blossoms from Flats Mentor Farm, haddock from Globe Fish, basil from my garden, my own homemade chicken broth, and even the lime juice was from the market in that I used the lime leftover from Holly’s (sweetthingfood.com) cooking demo the day before!
Close up shot of the green onion and garlic.
What got me going on chowder is that, while we enjoyed the flavor immensely of our experience doing haddock on the grill wrapped in foil, we were not thrilled with the texture since, we decided after the meal, we do prefer at least a bit of crunch with our fish. J No reflection on the quality of the fish itself, by the way! You can’t beat Globe Fish for freshness, that’s for sure.
Anyway – what to do with the leftover fish? Aha, chowder came to mind, although I knew it could not be a true fish chowder since the fish was already cooked. I had saved the liquid that was in the foil, but knew it could not carry the fish flavor enough to be the highlight. That is why I say “with haddock” in the recipe title. If I cooked the fish from raw in the chowder rather than adding it at the end, it would have been Fish Chowder with Corn, Tomato, and Basil. But, it wasn’t. <grin>
Since I was looking for a way to use a number of ingredients, I did my usual trick of typing in the list of ingredients I had available into Google and, voila! The perfect solution!
All but the basil, fish, and squash blossoms!
I used a recipe from the New York Time site for Corn, Tomato and Basil Chowder as my basis. I did make some changes, albeit most of them minor, and I am 100% certain that the recipe as written is scrumptious. But, here is what I did:
Corn, Tomato, and Basil Chowder with Haddock
- 4 medium ears corn, shucked (produced 4 cups of kernels)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (well, I actually used the chicken fat that had settled at the top of my chicken stock and a bit of olive oil, but just olive oil or unsalted butter would be fine.)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Three green onions, white and light green parts, chopped. (The original recipe calls for shallot but I didn’t have any.)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (well, one of Farmer Dave’s, but those suckers are huge!)
- 3/4 cups chicken broth and 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt ( use less of regular salt – maybe one tsp)
- 1 pound red potato (any waxy sort work best – red or Yukon) chopped to 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 pint measure or so of chopped, very ripe tomatoes. (original recipe calls for a pint of cherry tomatoes halved)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 cups chowder-sized chunks of leftover cooked haddock and 1/8 cup or so liquid leftover from cooking. (liquid not necessary!)
- Garnish: a few fresh basil leaves and a squash blossom (optional)
That's a very packed 1/4 cup of basil!
1. Slice corn kernels off cob and place in a bowl. Run back of a knife along each cob to remove additional corn pulp. Add pulp to bowl; reserve cobs.
2. In a medium soup pot or Dutch oven, fat, butter, or oil over medium heat. Stir in onion, green onion or shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add broth, reserved cobs, water, and 1 teaspoon salt to pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes longer. Remove cobs and discard.
corn cobs add so much flavor to any stock or soup!
4. Stir in corn kernels and pulp, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes more. Stir in the basil and lime juice. Turn off heat and let soup cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
And, to top it off, I added a few drops of hot sauce, just for fun, but it is not at all necessary.
all done and ready to serve and garnish!
While the recipe from which I was working didn’t state anything about freezing, I came across a number of similar recipes that noted that this sort of chowder freezes well. I know how I am going to enjoy a fresh corn taste this winter, whether I make it with or without the fish! Now, if only I could find a way to preserve the delicate flavor and subtle crunch of squash blossoms. I wonder if they can be frozen as one does with basil leaves? I might just try that next.
garnished with basil leaves and a squash blossom. Heavenly.