Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
By Susan Nye
August means many things such as shorter days and cooler nights and back-to-school shopping. But it also means lots of fresh, local sweet corn. From late July through September we are blessed with the golden goodness of New Hampshire corn.
You can grill it or toss it in salads or soups, but I think most people’s favorite is simple, steamed corn-on-the-cob. For absolute perfection, you want to cook the ears the same day they are picked; within minutes if you can manage it. As always, get the kids involved. Pile them into the car and head to your local farm stand or farmers market. It’s definitely worth the extra trip.
Plunk the children down on the back steps to shuck the corn while you put the water on. When you’ve got a rolling boil going, plunge the corn into the water and cook for exactly four minutes. The corn will come out piping hot and still crispy. Serve with butter and a sprinkling of salt. It’s perfection on a plate.
Ceasar Salad with Grilled Corn, Tomatoes & Avocado
2 to 3 ears fresh corn
1 to 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 to 2 T. diced red onion
1 to 2 hearts romaine, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
About 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Heat grill to high. Husk the corn and remove the silk. Brush the corn lightly with olive oil.
Arrange ears on the grill. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and let cool. Meanwhile, put tomatoes, onion and romaine in large bowl. Toss to combine.
When corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cob and toss them with the other vegetables. When ready to serve, add avocado and Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzle with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Makes about 1 cup
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce (or to taste)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 c. or to taste extra-virgin olive oil
Combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a blender; season with salt and pepper and process to combine. With the blender motor running, slowly add olive oil until thick and creamy.
Corn and Chicken Chowder
8 ears corn (6 to 8 cups kernels)
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 to 3 oz. bacon, diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
4 to 6 c. chicken stock
4 c. corn stock (recipe follows), or add additional chicken stock
2 med. red skinned potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 T. hot sauce (or to taste)
1 T. fresh, chopped sage
3 to 4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Garnish: fresh, chopped parsley
Cut kernels off the cobs and set aside. Use cobs to make corn stock.
In a soup kettle over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from the pot and drain on paper towels.
Leaving just enough to coat the bottom of the pot, pour off any extra bacon fat. Add onion, celery, carrots and hot sauce and cook, stirring from time to time for about 10 minutes.
Add corn stock, chicken stock, wine, chicken, potato and sage to the pot. Tie the bay leaf and thyme together with kitchen string; add it to the pot. Bring the chowder to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from pot and let it cool.
Add corn to the chowder and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more. Being careful to avoid the bay leaf-thyme bundle, transfer about 2 cups of vegetables and broth to a blender or food processor and puree. Return the pureed chowder to the kettle.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or cut it into bite-sized pieces and add it back to the chowder. Season with the chowder with salt and pepper, cool to room temperature and then refrigerate the chowder for several hours or overnight to mix and meld the flavors.
Reheat slowly until steaming. Remove the bay leaf-thyme bundle and serve garnished with chopped parsley.
For a richer, creamier chowder add 1/2 to 1 cup of half & half when you add the chicken back to the pot.
In the dead of winter when fresh corn is nothing more than a fond memory, make this chowder with frozen shoepeg corn and the leftover corn stock you’ve stowed in your freezer.
Corn stock will give your chowder a cornier taste but if you don’t have time or inclination to make it, just add more chicken stock.
Makes about 3 quarts
8 corn cobs
2 carrots, quartered
2 stalks celery, quartered
1 onion, quartered
3 to 4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Snap corn cobs in half. Fill large pot with 4 quarts water. Add corn cobs, onion, celery, carrot and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Cool stock to room temperature, strain and discard the solids. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Store extra corn stock in plastic containers or freezer bags and freeze until you have a hankering for another corn chowder.
Susan Nye writes for several New England magazines and newspapers. She shares stories and recipes on her blog Around the Table at www.susannye.wordpress.com.