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There are only two keys to perfect corn chowder: perfect corn, and perfect technique. Easy, right?
Fortunately, it's simpler than it sounds, especially at this time of year when great fresh corn is everywhere. Look for tightly closed ears with no discolored silks and kernels that are fat, firm, and juicy. The closer you can get your corn to the time it was harvested, the sweeter it will be, so if you've got some farmer connections, now's the time to use them!
After that, it's just a matter of extracting as much flavor as possible. We found that scraping the backs of the cobs with the blunt side of a knife is the best way to get every last drop of flavorful liquid out of them, followed by simmering the empty cobs in a bit of stock to infuse their flavor directly into the soup.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.