Hard to believe given that it’s the height of summer, but there have been a few days recently where the weather was downright cool and even a bit chilly on the days when it’s been wet and stormy. This inspired Mark to want to make a chowder after picking up some tomatoes and corn at the farmer’s market. He had made focaccia with some thyme picked from our balcony garden the day before and was in the mood for soup to dip the bread in. The chowder is loaded with chunky fresh ingredients, but the roasting of the corn and tomatoes give it a rich, caramelized flavor that hints of the Fall season to come.
Roasted Corn and Yellow Tomato Chowder (serves 6-8)
4 ripe yellow tomatoes
4 ears fresh corn, still in its husk
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced pancetta (optional)
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
First, roast the corn and tomatoes. Turn your broiler on high. Place the corn (with the husks still on) and tomatoes on separate foil-lined pans. Put each under the broiler. Broil the tomatoes until the skins have blackened, turning if necessary. Broil the corn for a little longer until the husks have browned, turning several times. Remove from the broiler and allow to cool. Remove the skins from the tomatoes when cooled and remove the husks from the corn. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and reserve any of the juice from the pan that they were roasted in. Slice the corn kernels off the cobs and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the fat has cooked off and it starts to get crispy. Stir in the onions, celery and thyme, and cook for about 4 more minutes, but don’t allow the onions to brown. Next, stir in the tomatoes and corn and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Add the broth and potatoes and simmer just until the potatoes are cooked, approximately 8 minutes. Stir in the cream, salt & pepper to taste, and simmer for just one more minute. Serve with chunky pieces of focaccia or other crusty, rustic bread.