Tuesday Dinner: Double Corn Chowder

Tim had something new at his market booth this Sunday, white “tamale corn.” They only have enough for three pickings a year, and it can only be used fresh within the first couple of days; after that the kernels get hard and dry and can be used as “parched corn” or ground into masa. More online research taught me that it’s a starchy field corn (also known as dent corn) variety, as opposed to the juicy sweet corn that we eat as corn on the cob. After I shucked the first ear, I tested it by simmering the kernels in salted water with a little butter. The corn retains a much chewier quality, and when it’s puréed, the texture is almost like polenta.

This tamale corn forms the base of today’s double corn soup. Usually corn chowders are thickened with potato; the thickness in this soup comes only from the starchy corn. Luckily, I had a gallon of Tim’s sweet corn in the freezer, so I added that—hence, double corn chowder. It’s seasoned with onions, celery, thyme, and carrots; feel free to add bacon and cream if you like. (I sure as heck like it that way!)

That little bit of rain yesterday was a reminder that my favorite herbs aren’t going to be in the garden much longer. I quickly decided to add chives and basil to the soup, and I cut a big bunch of tarragon to make green goddess dressing for the salad. It’s a thick and creamy dressing, rich with avocados that are blended with garlic, anchovies, and so many herbs; tons of chives and parsley to go along with the tarragon. Such a gorgeously green dressing for the lettuce, lemon cucumbers, and those backyard tomatoes that just keep coming, and a nice change of pace from a more usual vinaigrette.

The bread’s different today, too; I added cooked whole barley and farro to the dough. I love how those kernels pop when you chew them, and how the ones on the outside of the rolls get crunchy in the heat of the oven.

We’ve got my favorite almond sablées for dessert. So buttery and rich, but tender and crumbly at the same time. I always make more than I need—the caterer’s philosophy that it’s always better to make too much than run out—but I packaged up the extra right away and told my mom to take them to the staff kitchen at school. You know that if those cookies are anywhere where I can see them, they’ll disappear. Slowly, one by one, maybe…but it won’t take too long before they’re all gone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *