The Best Corn Chowder

The key to this great corn chowder is...great corn. Plus a few other tricks. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Editor's note: Each week we browse through our back-catalogue to bring you some of our favorite seasonal recipes you may have missed in the past.

Corn has been plentiful this week at Serious Eats. First, there was Shao Z.'s corn-and-pork congee recipe from our week of dim sum recipes. Then Kenji shared his simple (and simply delicious) corn, tomato, and feta salad recipe. Well, we're about to throw even more corn at you, because at the end of summer, when corn is only at peak for a little while longer, we believe in eating as much of it as possible.

And there may be no better way of wrapping yourself up in the pure, sweet flavor of corn—short of eating it on the cob—than in a chowder. And there may be no better corn chowder than this one, from Kenji.

His secret, aside from selecting the very best, freshest, sweetest corn you can, is to keep it simple. And the key to keeping it simple is to omit the bacon or salt pork often called for in corn chowder recipes. That's right, you read that correctly: no bacon, no salt pork. As much as people like to say otherwise, the truth is that not everything is better with bacon, and this chowder is the proof.

His other trick is to not let all the corn flavor hidden in the leftover cobs go to waste. To get every last bit of it, he scrapes the cobs to extract the corn milk, then simmers the cobs and the milk in stock until it's infused with their flavor.

So, before fresh summer corn disappears from farm stands and market tables, go ahead and grab a load of 'em. Start with this chowder, then have some congee or that salad. Eat whatever's left on the cob as I do: compulsively, urgently, standing over your sink, knowing that soon they will be gone.


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