I enjoyed it so much, I couldn't wait to make it myself. Our friend gladly shared the recipe and her adaptations, which I am sharing with you. This is a perfect, late summer/early fall chowder. Sweet corn season is nearing its end here, so if you can't get fresh sweet corn at the farmers' market any longer, it's okay to use the sweet corn from your grocer.
Clam, Halibut and Sweet Corn ChowderAdapted from Chef Adam Zimmerman, Sepia (Chicago)
Clam juice – about 1 quart
8 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels removed, saving cobs (divide kernels in half)
2 leeks, white part only, diced (divided in half)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (divided in half)
3 stalks celery, peeled and diced (divided in half)
1 medium onions, peeled and diced (divided in half)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (divided)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 lbs small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut to the size of the pearl onions
16 peeled pearl onions
2 cups heavy cream, reduced to 1 cup
4 strips of bacon, cut into 1” pieces (can be omitted, if desired)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 each 5-ounce skinless halibut or cod filets
12 little neck clams, scrubbed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish
In an 8-quart stock pot combine the remaining 1/2 of kernels with 10 of the corn cobs, half of the diced leek, and half of the celery, carrots and onions, as well as 2 sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf. Add the clam juice then add enough water to cover by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the corn stock and discard the solids.
Wash out the stock pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Over medium heat add the bacon and cook until rendered and lightly golden brown. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat/olive oil mixture and add the reserved leeks, onions, carrots, celery and corn kernels. Add a pinch of salt and sweat until the vegetables are just beginning to get tender. Add the corn stock and the remaining thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, pearl onions, and cream. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and continue to cook just until the clams open. Add the chopped parsley and the reserved bacon (if using) and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Season the halibut or cod with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and fish. Sear the fish about 4 minutes per side until just cooked through.
To serve, place a ladle-full of chowder and vegetables into each serving bowl. Add some of the chowder broth and top with a filet of halibut or cod.
Garnish with chopped parsley, reserved cooked bacon and serve with a crusty baguette.
Note: Can be made without the fish filets - double the amount of clams.