Corn and Lobster Chowder with Crisp Bacon
Chowders, of course, are quintessential New England. Maine is especially known for its clam, fish, and seafood chowders. Lobster and corn combine to create an exceptional chowder that is creamy, rich and hearty, with tender chunks of potatoes and finished off with crisp-smoky bacon. It’s hard to beat.
Corn and Lobster Chowder
Michael Salmon, Hartstone Inn, Signature Maine Recipes from an Elegant Maine Inn
Two 1½ pound live Maine Lobsters
6 strips thick-sliced bacon (specialty smoked if available)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups medium dice red skin potatoes, washed and not peeled
½ cup small dice carrots
4 ears corn on the cob
1 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon picked Italian parsley leaves
Fill a large 9-quart stockpot with two inches of water, cover and bring to a boil. Add live lobsters, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool. When cool, crack lobsters and remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tail (discarding the vein). Cut the lobster meat into ½-inch pieces. Reserve lobster meat and shells separately, washing the green tamale away.
Pour the cooking liquid from the pot into a quart measurer. Fill to 1 quart, using additional water if necessary. Place the lobster heads and shells in the large pot with the 1 quart of cooking liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid, discarding the shells.
Cut the bacon into ½-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, stirring occasionally, and cook until crisp. Scoop out the crisp bacon (reserve) and add the onions and butter. Cook the onions until translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in the reserved lobster stock and add the bay leaf, black pepper and diced potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes and add the diced carrots. Cook for 5 minutes more.
Remove the husk and hair from the ears of corn. Cut each ear in half width-wise. Stand the halves on the cut ends and remove the kernels of corn with a chef’s knife, following close to the cob. Add the corn to the soup and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf from the soup and stir in the heavy cream. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
Add the lobster meat to the soup, set over low heat, 2 minutes before serving. Ladle the soup into the serving bowls. Garnish with picked Italian parsley leaves and serve.
Michael Salmon is the chef and owner of The Hartstone Inn.