Summer is Over, Long Live Summer!

September 23, 2008

With summer drawing to a close, what better way to celebrate the changing of the season than to give summer one last hurrah?

I like to celebrate summer late into the season and even into the fall. Every year around this time, I dream of a good, juicy, sweet ear of corn. I camp out at our farmer’s market in town where I can get it right from the field. And I will never understand why people buy canned corn at the height of corn season! No comparison.

I like my corn grilled, or steamed and I eat it straight up, no butter, no salt. And I always buy more than we need because I use the ones we don’t eat to make corn chowder.

Here is my favorite way to make corn chowder, Italian style, a real taste of summer in a bowl.

Summer Corn Chowder

Serve 6 to 8

4 large ears of cooked corn on the cob
1/4 cup diced pancetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 ribs celery diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
3 tablespoons flour
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups reserved corn water
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
Grinding black pepper

Strip the corn kernels from the cob and set aside. Place the cobs in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook 10 minutes. Discard the cobs and reserve 2 cups of the water.

In a soup pot cook the pancetta in the olive oil until the pancetta begins to render its fat. Stir in the onion, celery, and sweet potato. Stir well, cover the pot and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the zucchini. Sprinkle the vegetable with the flour and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the evaporated milk, heavy cream and reserved corn water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for approximately 7 minutes. Add the corn kernels you stripped from the cob and simmer for another 3 minutes. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper; stir in the parsley and thyme. Serve hot.

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