What’s for Dinner?
Ben’s Martha’s Vineyard Corny, Crabby Chowder
Creamed corn and crab make this dish a hit
-courtesy of Ben Sargent, TV personality, chowder fiend, brooklynchowdersurfer.com
I made this one up while shooting an episode on Martha’s Vineyard for Plum TV. I caught the fish and speared the crabs!
Fish and Crab Stock
Peel 3 pounds shrimp – and put aside a few large shrimp. Sautee shells in a little water … add entire crabs and fish rack of one bass. Fill water and splash of white wine to top of fish racks, crabs and shrimp shells.
Cover pot and boil on high heat. Strain a little of the water after cooking for an hour to add potency. Add bay leaves and whole black peppercorns to stock. Boil till a nice frothy build-up rattles and pushes up top of the pot.
Cream of Corn
Get started on this as soon as you put the stock on to boil.
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ears fresh corn
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper
In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter and salt until translucent. In a large mixing bowl, place a paper bowl in the middle of the bowl. Resting the cob on the bowl in a vertical position remove only the tops of the kernel with a knife, using long smooth downward strokes and rotating the cob as you go. After the cob has been stripped, use the dull backside of your knife to scrape any remaining pulp and milk off the cob.
Add the corn and pulp mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-high until the juice from the corn has tightened. Add the rosemary. Sprinkle the corn with the sugar and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the corn, using a whisk to combine well. Add the heavy cream and cook until the corn has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
In a new large pot:
Bag of red potatoes or yellow, quartered – keep skin on mostly. Should fill bottom third of a big lobster pot. Saute potatoes as you would to sweat onions for 15 minutes with a little vegetable oil to coat bottom of pot.
Add butter – two sticks in bottom of pot – add onions and one minced clove garlic. Sweat onions and garlic till golden brown for an additional 10 minutes in with the potatoes. (Big yellow onions – quartered and cut to same size as potatoes.)
Strain fish stock. Add stock in with the half cooked potatoes and onions, but only after the stock has cooked for a few hours and is nice and fishy smelling. Boil onions and potatoes in with fish stock. (Make sure you have strained the stock at this point, but not with a fine strainer – you don’t want shells or crabs in the stock but you do want texture from the stock.)
After about a half hour of boiling on high flame, bring down to a simmer and add cream of corn. Keep stirring – do not let ingredients settle while on a boil. Add in fresh milk or cream at this point but do not allow it to boil because milk will curdle and ruin the chowder.
Add in seafood at this point – lump crab meat and fish. Let this cook for 10 minutes on simmer. Do not add scallops and shrimp till you have turned off heat.
Add dill, cilantro and thyme to taste (will get measurements) Salt and pepper to taste.
Check out Francine Segan’s interview with Ben Sargent