Wish Upon A Dish: Corn and Scallop Chowder

August 16, 2011

Corn and Scallop Chowder

We are tired of food. Yes, it happens to all of us.

You just don't know what you want to eat. These are the times when we are most tempted to eat out or grab take-out.

Worse, when we don't know what we want, we end up eating fried appetizers instead of a healthy dinner. I know, we all do it, fess up.

I decided to switch things up and make a chowder. When we were up in Maine I was dying to try their clam chowder, which is a huge favorite of mine, but it was too hot to even think about soup and a main course. I am sorry, but no matter how I think it, fresh caught lobster will always trump clam chowder.

Just so happens that Tasting Table highlighted a Corn and Scallop Chowder from the winery Chateau Ste. Michelle on a recent post about wine pairings and food. It looked good and was exactly what I wanted to try this summer.

When you can get fresh Jersey corn on the cob, you eat it any way you can and it was damp and cool enough yesterday to eat it in a light chowder.

While I have a good fire going on the grill and after I cook the main meal, I will thrown corn, red peppers or a head of garlic on the remaining heat and take care of ingredients I plan on using in up-coming recipes.

I brined the corn in half salt/sugar water, and threw them, unhusked, onto the grill. Closed the lid and steamed them for 15 minutes. I now had perfectly smoky and steamed corn for my chowder.

As usual I changed a few ingredients to make it Diabetic friendly.

Corn and Scallop Chowder
serves 4
* 1/2 lb. sea or bay scallops
* 1 Tbs. olive oil
* 2 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
* 1/4 c. finely chopped celery
* 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed, soaked and cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes
* 2 c. canned corn, drained or
 &nbsp 2 ears of corn, lightly grilled (kernels removed, cobs reserved)
* 1 1/2c. chicken stock
* 1 1/2c. fat-free half and half
* Pinch of Old Bay
* Salt and pepper, to taste
* Tabasco, as a garnish
* 2 Tbs. chopped chives or parsley

Season scallops with salt & pepper; set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet over moderate heat. Cook scallops until browned on both sides, approximately a minute per side. Remove from pan, cool and cut into 1/2" dice; set aside (if using bay scallops just cut in half).

In a large fry pan, cook pancetta over moderate heat until crispy. Add onion and celery; cook until soft.

In another 4 quart saucepan, add stock, half and half and bare corn cobs (cooking the cobs in the stock adds another level of corny flavor).
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove cobs, reserve liquid. Add a large sprig of fresh thyme and 1 crushed garlic clove. Let it steep while you cook the barley.

When the barley is cooked, rinse in cool water and add to the cream mixture.
Bring saucepan back to a simmer and add the sauteed pancetta, onions, celery, and corn. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Add scallops, Old Bay, adjust salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 1 more minute, remove from heat, fish out the thyme stem, add chives or parsley and serve.

I had cooked extra bacon at breakfast to crumble over the top of this chowder, but that is optional.

This is NOT a slow-cook-on-the-stove-top all day kinda soup. The corn should be crunchy, sweet and the scallops, not tough as rubber, OK?

Good, now enjoy. The Nudge said it was the perfect soup for a summery wet day and the corn and scallops were cooked perfectly, the broth wasn't a heavy creamy one, just like a Maine-type chowder should be. Brothy, not thick (he refuses to eat cream of "anything" soups).

Glycemic Index: 10

Exhanges per serving:
1 1/2 meat
1 1/2 fat
1/2 non-starchy vegetable
1 starch
1/3 fat-free milk

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