corn chowder with tomato salsa

Posted on August 25, 2012

It might be chilly and foggy here in SF, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying summer produce. Those 100+ degree days in the Sacramento valley are good for something, and that something is corn and tomatoes. Nothing tastes more like summer.

This soup combines both of those flavors, plus a little southwestern flare thanks to a tomato and corn salsa. It is great for a summer day because it is quick to make and doesn’t require turning on your oven. I haven’t lived in San Francisco long enough to forget what that is like.

Corn Chowder with Tomato Salsa
For the soup

1 small onion, diced
2 leeks, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 T butter
4 ears of corn, removed from the cob
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups broth (we used vegetable, but chicken would also be good)
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion, leeks and carrot and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the corn, thyme and bay leaf and saute two minutes more.

Add the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Bring back up to a simmer and add the cream. Season well with salt and pepper.

If you find that your soup is too runny once you’ve pureed it like I did, make a quick roux in a small saucepan. Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add two tablespoons of flour. Stir to combine.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is light brown. Whisk into the simmering soup to thicken.

For the salsa
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ear corn, removed from the cob
zest and juice of one lime
chipotle or cayenne pepper – we used dried
salt and pepper

If you’re feeling up to it, grill the corn (or char it over your gas burners) before you shave it off the cob. The smokey flavor of charred corn plus the chipotle pepper would be great in contrast with the sweetness of the soup. In a small bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, lime juice and zest. Season with a pinch of cayenne or chipotle. Season with salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into the bowl and top with a few spoonfuls of the salsa. We also made a grilled cheese on some of my sourdough. Soup and grilled cheese is a special type of satisfying.

-Emily