Corn and Scallop Chowder
The diced, roasted red pepper, along with its flavorful juices and a pinch of dried thyme, give this chowder a delicious complexity and depth of flavor.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 3 cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels
- 3-1/2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1-1/2 pounds bay scallops
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1. Preheat the broiler. Place a sheet of foil on a broiler pan and place the pepper on top. Position the pan so the top of the pepper is about 2 inches from the source of heat. Broil, turning the pepper until all sides are evenly charred, about 15 minutes. Remove the pepper, keeping it on the foil and wrap tightly until cooled. Skin the pepper on the foil. Halve and remove stem, seeds, and inside ribs. Do not rinse the pepper, but flick off the seeds with a knife tip. Set the pepper aside. Strain the contents of the foil in a strainer set over a bowl to reserve roasted pepper juices. Cut the pepper into small dice and add to the juices. Set aside.
2. Combine half of the corn kernels and 1-1/2 cups of the milk in a food processor; process until corn is pureed. Place a strainer over a bowl and strain the milk. Press down on the corn skins to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the skins. Set the milk aside.
3. Melt the butter in a large, broad saucepan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring until the onion is softened, but not browned. Add the corn-flavored milk, the remaining milk and corn kernels, the diced pepper and juices, thyme, salt, and a grinding of black pepper. Heat until simmering. Stir in the scallops and cook, stirring just until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper sauce to taste.