First blog post and first corn chowder!
Dunh dunh dunh! Erica and Alice's very first blog post, featuring mistakes, tips, and in the end two delicious recipes for Sweet Corn and Shrimp Chowder and Stuffed Mussels:
It was actually sunny and nice this weekend, which put both of us in the mood for seafood! Wouldn't it be nice to live out these last bright days with some good, inexpensive seafood: mussels and shrimp? Using small amounts of flavorful seafood is an awesome way to brighten up a dish made with bulkier and less expensive grains, dontcha know! We walked away from the grocery store with probably 10 shrimp, 10 mussels, and 1/2 a pound of smoked salmon, which produced a seafood feast for 5 people.
We also got some corn (featured below).
I recommend this chowder if you have a lot of work to do at home. There is a fair amount of inactive time, as you make a corn broth with the bare cobs. This broth ensures a super corn-y and sweet chowder, but it takes about an hour of simmering. The cook time for the chowder itself takes only about 30 minutes.
However, stuffing and baking these scrumptious mussels takes only up to 20 minutes. I will have to estimate a few exact amounts for the mussel details because the actual recipe we used is in Italian, and I (Erica, here), can hardly understand a thing it says! Trust though-- if it's anything like we cooked, you will fall in love with this tasty and approachable method of cooking mussels :)
Well-- if you're ready-- let's get cookin!
Corn Chowder (Serves 4-5)
- 5 ears sweet corn
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 ounces bacon or pancetta (we happened to use pancetta because it was on hand)
- 1/5 lb smoked salmon
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 1 medium sized russet potato, peeled
- 6-8 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into small, bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or chives
Remove kernels from the corn cobs. Place cobs, bay leaves, and water into a stock pot and simmer over medium-low heat for an hour. Strain through fine strainer, season to taste, and set aside.
...30 minutes after you began the stock... Prepare the Chowder:
Place half of the corn kernels into a saucepan with the cream and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes (until you see the cream has reduced by about half). Puree the mixer in a food processor or let cool and in a blender, until smooth. Cut the bacon or cured, salty meat (if desired) a julienne (thin dice). Thinly slice the onion, and peel and dice the potato. Add bacon to a wide and high-ish rimmed pan (your final chowder will wind up in this pan) and cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add onion, potato, and the remaining corn and cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Finely dice the smoked salmon. To devein the shrimp, make a thin, shallow slice along the top of the peeled shrimp. Using a spoon or finger, remove the vein (digestive system). Add the chopped shrimp and salmon, and cook, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the corn puree back into the sauce pot over medium heat (make sure you have enough room for most of your newly finished corn cob broth!). Add the broth to the puree one cup at a time, until you have reached your desired thickness. Warm, and then add the corn mixture to the shrimp and veg pot. Leave on medium heat until just bubbling. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Finely mince green onion or chives for garnish and allow people to garnish their own bowls!
Stuffed Mussels (very Italian)
- Desired number of mussels, in our case, 10 mussels
- Plain bread crumbs (2/3 cup)
- Parsley (1/2 bunch)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- White wine (1 cup approx)
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil (1/4 cup approx)
A very important first step with mussels is to first make sure they are still alive! If they are dead, they could get you quite sick. If they are fully closed, they are alive. Any open mussels, place on a flat surface and tap with your finger. If they close, they are still alive. Any that don't close, toss em! Next rinse the mussels and debeard (if you see a string-looking thing sticking out the side of the mussel, pull it out). Throw a crushed, whole clove of garlic, a few sprigs of parsley, and the wine into a sauce pot over medium-high heat. As the wine just begins to warm, add the mussels. Let the wine simmer until all of the mussels have opened. Turn off heat. Next, mince the rest of the garlic and parsley and mix with the breadcrumbs and oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Strain about 1/2 of the cooking liquid into the bowl of breadcrumbs and stir. Add more liquid until breadcrumb mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Drain mussels and separate each mussel into two halves (one side with meat and other without). Grab a spoon and get stuffin! Stuff the mussels as much as you'd like. Definitely stuff the empty halves, as the breadcrumb mixture is deelish. Place finished mussels on a half-sized (or larger, depending amount) sheet tray. As you're stuffing, remember last minute to turn on the oven on to broil (500-550)!! Once all are stuffed to your liking, sprinkle the tops lightly with course salt. Place in oven for 5-15 minutes... until the tops of the mussel stuffing are golden brown all around. Eat... immediately! These lil guys are easy to snarf down, and they're even full of mussel flavor (because of the cooking liquid used in the stuffing).
Well that's it for now, folks. We are excited to utilize this blog as a fun platform for accessible recipes we try and pertinent stories and opinions we'd like to share with you. Stay tuned for an engaged rambling on the intersection of food and culture (also featuring a recipe or two!!!). Bye for now!