This recipe for lobster corn chowder is the perfect way to usher in fall. It's rich, flavorful and loaded with big chunks of lobster meat.
Chowder is a humble soup. It's essentially peasant food for fishermen, made with inexpensive cuts of fish or shellfish (you know, like clams) and whatever odds and ends are laying around: celery, onion and potatoes, most certainly. And in my book? Cream. Always cream. Like in my New England Clam Chowder and Fish Chowder. A Manhattan style chowder is just not chowder to me. It's soup.
This recipe however, is anything but peasant food. This is fancy chowder, the kind you serve on holidays or to people you want to impress, just like lobster bisque. It's a special meal, and one that will set you back a few bucks more than you're probably used to spending on a home-cooked dinner. That's because it's made with one of my favorite ingredients of all time: lobster.
I'm very lucky to live in a place where fresh lobsters are at my disposal almost every single day of the year, and I realize that's probably not the case for most folks. But if you're able to get your hands on some fresh, cold-water lobsters for a reasonable price, I highly recommend you splurge and buy a couple to make this soup. It's cozy comfort food that's elegant and insanely delicious, making it perfect for cool-weather entertaining.
This recipe is adapted from the queen herself, Ina Garten. I've made it many times, and let me tell you, it can be a bit of a process, mostly from cracking all those lobsters. Which, by the way - try to do that outside if you can. I'm still scrubbing lobster goo off my cabinets. Anyway, you can't just buy pre-shucked lobster meat for this recipe because you need those shells to impart a deep, lobster flavor in the broth. Many grocery stores will steam them for you - and maybe even shuck them if you ask - so that can at least help cut out some of the work.
Ina's recipe is rich. It's so rich in fact, that I actually cut the amount of dairy in my version to make it a little bit less-rich, which is somewhat out of character for me. There's usually nothing that's too rich for my palate, but in this case, I felt like it took away from the lobster. I wanted it to be just a little more delicate.
We're in early fall right now, which means fresh corn on the cob is at the very tail end of it's season. I think you could get away with using frozen corn for this recipe, but the corn cobs - just like the lobster shells - are also used to flavor the broth. If you're not able to find fresh corn on the cob, I say make it anyway. It might not be quite as flavorful, but I think it will still be really delicious. In fact, the corn I used to make this one was so sweet, it was almost overkill. Corn that's super fresh and sugary is better left eaten plain on the cob, or in a simple raw salad like this one.
This has been one of the rainiest Septembers I can remember. It feels like at least ¾ of the days have been rainy, or at least overcast and foggy. While it hasn't been great for Soulberri, for my garden or for general island morale, it has been great weather for chowder. No one wants a hot bowl of creamy soup when its 85 degrees outside, but when it's 65 and drizzly, there's truly nothing better. Especially when there's lobster.
One Year Ago: Ricotta Cheesecake with Plums
Two Years Ago: Grilled Lamb Meatballs with Tahini / Buttery Buffalo Popcorn
Three Years Ago: Ground Cherry Torte / Turin, Italy / Cinque Terre, Italy
Four Years Ago: Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Corn + Crab Relish
Five Years Ago: Grilled Vegetable Panzanella