This delicious recipe (said to be Oprah‘s favourite) from the cookbook “Taste Pure and Simple“, Nischan interestingly uses fresh vanilla bean. Not something you would expect from a corn chowder but Michel Nischan explains quite endearingly why he thought of the unlikely combination:
“This recipe proves a belief of mine. When you cook with ingredients that sound good in your head, they will taste good, too. I feel this way about vanilla and corn, which may seem like a strange pair, but once you try this combination, you’ll like it.”
Sweet Corn and Vegetable Chowder
About 2-4 fresh ears corn, shucked
1 Yukon Gold Potato
split vanilla bean, or pure vanilla extract
2 pounds fresh or frozen edamame, fava, or lima beans (about 1 cup shelled)
1 to 2 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded spinach, sorrel, or arugula
1 tablespoon julienned lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat over to 450 degrees F. Place 2 ears of corn directly on the over rack and roast, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool, cut the roasted corn kernels off the cob. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
Meanwhile, cook the potato in salted boiling water until tender in the center when pierced, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let cool to the touch, Slip off the skin and cut the potato into 1/4-inch dice.
With a large, sharp knife, cut the kernels off the remaining ears of corn. Run the kernels through a vegetable juicer. You should have about 4 cups of juice. Combine the corn juice and the vanilla bean in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly so the liquid doesn’t curdle. The natural starch in the juice will thicken it to a sauce consistency. The degree of thickness will depend on the amount of starch in the corn. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a little water or lemon juice. Remove from the heat.
Fish out the vanilla bean and, with the tip of a small knife, scrape the seeds from the bean into the soup; discard the pod. If the soup appears a little broken, don’t worry. Blend the soup in a blender at medium speed for a silky-smooth consistency. Return the soup to the pot.
Put the roasted corn kernels, beans, and potato in a medium saute pan or skillet with the water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until the vegetables are hot. Pour off the water and add the vegetables to the soup. Stir in the shredded spinach or other greens, the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Note: If the corn milk curdles during cooking, don’t worry. Beat the curdled milk with an electric mixer set on medium speed until it returns to its perfect smoothness before you add the rest of the vegetables.
Photo via laurat