From Market to Plate: Zucchini Corn Chowder
The edges of the days are starting to feel like autumn, and with that comes soup weather. Recently, we enjoyed this lighter version of a chowder that utilizes the best of summer produce. The sweetness of fresh corn makes a rich, comforting bowl, but don't be afraid to also throw a little spicy pico de gallo made with garden tomatoes on top for a delicious flavor contrast.
Zucchini Corn Chowder
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 small zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 tablespoon flour
4 ears fresh sweet corn, divided
2 cups milk, divided
1 cup heavy cream (use all milk, if you want a lighter soup)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
green onions or chives, sliced as garnish
Cut corn from the cobs; reserve the corn from 2 ears. Cook bacon in a large, heavy pot until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Add onions and red peppers to the drippings; cook until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and the squash to the drippings and saute until tender. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour to absorb any extra bacon drippings and create a bit of a roux.
Place corn from 1 ear and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add pureed mixture and reserved corn and cream to the pan. Bring to a near boil to thicken slightly.
Add bacon and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring constantly.
To serve, top each bowl with green onions and cheese.
**Chef Fran tip**Alternatively, serve topped with spoonfuls of fresh pico de gallo and corn chips to cut the sweet richness of the chowder.