When I worked a nine to five job, I was somewhat lazy about visiting farmers markets on the weekend. Baltimore has wonderful markets but you really have to arrive early to get the best produce options. When my husband and I moved closer to Washington DC, I was delighted to discover a small farmers market within walking distance of our apartment. It may not be the largest market in the area, but I can find what I need. And now that I work unusual hours, I love arriving early to the market on Saturday and wandering through the local, seasonal goodies.
If you’re looking for a farmers market in your area, a great resource is Real Time Farms. In addition to providing information on farms and farmers markets, they also link restaurants to specific farms, which I think is pretty cool.
Right now is such a great time to buy corn. Because this is the peak season, it’s cheap and full of flavor. I love adding it to salads or mixing it with quinoa. But in my opinion, chowder is the best way to enjoy corn in the summer. Many recipes use bacon but I think that takes away from the star attraction. This recipe brings out all of the natural sweetness and savoriness of the corn, has richness from the dairy and stock and a lovely earthiness from the fresh herbs.
(approximately 4 servings, adapted from Tyler Florence)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 starchy potato (I used a Russet)
- 3 ears corn
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Using a heavy bottom soup pot (I use a Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and a small pinch of salt. Allow them to sweat for 5 minutes, or until soft.
- Coat the veggies with flour and stir well. You might see a bit of caramelization on the bottom of the pan, which is a good thing. Stir everything around for a minute or two and then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- While the stock is heating up, peel and dice the potato. I do this at the last second to avoid discoloration. If you want to peel the potato in advance, leave it in a bowl of water, but don’t dice it or you’ll lose too much starch. You want that to help thicken the chowder!
- Once the stock is boiling, add the half and half as well as the potato. Stir well and allow the mixture to boil for 8 minutes. The potatoes may try to stick to the bottom of the pot so give it a stir periodically.
- Slice the kernels off the corn cobs and add to the chowder. Allow the soup to simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Add the salt, pepper, and parsley.
- Stir in the butter.