A simple, light, and grilled summer take on steamed clams. —Annie Barrow
ears of corn, un-shucked
each, red and green bell peppers (4 total)
large white onions
peeled garlic cloves
jalapeno (optional for a spicier chowder)
In This Recipe
Shuck corn, set aside husks and hair to use for corn stock. Grill corn and peppers until charred on all sides but not burnt. Allow corn and peppers to cool, cut the corn off the cob saving the cobs to use for corn stock. Keeping separate from the corn, dice the peppers and white onions (small dice). Mince garlic and combine with diced onions and peppers. In a large sautoir (large saute pan with edges or sides) heat up the vegetable oil on medium-low heat. When pan and oil are hot add onions, peppers (if using jalapenos for a spicier chowder add in here), and garlic. On low heat, sweat out mixture stirring regularly with a wooden spoon making sure not to burn or allow vegetable mixture to get color. Season the mixture with salt as it cooks. Once the onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant, approximately 5 minutes, add the corn. Stir to combine all vegetables, keeping the pan on low heat. While corn is heating up with the rest of the sweated out vegetable mixture, add about 1-2 cups of corn stock and turn heat to medium-low heat.
Chowder is done when peppers are crisp yet tender, and the corn is soft but still has its shape. The consistency of the chowder should be chunky, but broth-y enough that you need a spoon to take a bite. Season chowder with salt and pepper to taste (careful not to over salt as the clams will add a salty/ briny flavor to the chowder).
After you have cleaned your grilled corn, take all the corn husks, cobs, and hairs and place in a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover the corn leftovers by half (about 3 qts water). Place the stock on a burner over high heat. Bring corn stock to a boil. Once at a boil, turn the heat to low and place a lid on the pot.
After about 20-30 minutes corn stock with begin to taste like corn and smell like corn. The starches from the husks and cobs should've thickened the stock. Strain the corn stock to remove all fibers and bits leaving only the corn liquid.
Next, refer to the chowder recipe above, keeping in mind that as soon as you've cut the grilled corn off the cob, start the corn stock. The stock shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, thus the stock can be working on the stovetop while you're cutting and sweating out the onions, peppers, and garlic.
Steaming Clams in Corn Chowder:
Take a large spoonful (at least ½ cup) of corn chowder and place in a small pot, add 6 cleaned clams, and a splash of corn stock to the pot, place a lid on pot and turn on high heat. The chowder will heat up as the clams are steaming, once all the clams have opened, take the pot off the burner and place the steamed clams in the middle of your serving bowl. Prior to adding the broth, scoop out the chowder with a spoon, and delicately distribute over the steamed clams. Pour the remaining liquid over the clams so the clams are sitting in a broth. Garnish with chiffonade parsley, quartered cherry tomatoes, and finishing olive oil (a good quality olive oil) drizzled over the dish.
The same method can be varied to serve more than one serving of 6 clams at a time. Use the same ratio quantities of 1/2c. corn chowder, a splash of corn stock, and 6 clams per serving in 2 larger pots that can accommodate room for more clams.