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Corn Chowder with Grilled Shrimp

Corn Chowder with Grilled Shrimp
A farmers market or roadside stand is the best source for sweet corn. The natural sugars in the corn begin converting to starch the minute the ears are picked, so freshness is critical. Look for cobs with crisp green husks and dry, brownish silk that extends out the top (yellowish silk marks an immature ear). The kernels should be tightly packed in even rows and look plump and juicy.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 18 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into
      1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 3 bacon slices, cooked and chopped
  • 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Lime slices for garnish

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, the basil, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, stir to coat and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, warm the 1 Tbs. oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and bacon and cook for 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer 2 cups of the soup mixture to a bowl. Using an immersion blender, puree the remaining soup until smooth. Stir in the reserved soup mixture, the cayenne, salt and pepper and keep warm.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade; discard the marinade. Thread the shrimp onto skewers. Arrange the skewers on the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Ladle the chowder into warmed bowls. Garnish with the shrimp skewers and lime slices and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.