Celebrating the end of summer with the most delicious corn chowder. It’s simple and bursting with flavor, topped with a fresh mixture of scallions and beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes.
We are right in the midst of my absolute favorite season…end of summer and transitioning into fall. I find it’s the best time at the markets – you’ll find all the end of summer gems like sweet corn, stone fruit, and juicy tomatoes…plus the first signs of autumn with grapes, figs, and apples. It’s also the perfect time to make corn chowder because the nights are turning just a little bit cooler and we’re starting to think about all things cozy, yet aren’t quite ready for summer to end.
This is my take on a corn chowder. It’s fresh and light, uses a minimal amount of ingredients, and has a slightly creamy consistency with lots of texture as well. We’re keeping it nice and bright with a topping of heirloom cherry tomatoes, scallions, radishes, and fennel fronds.
The corn chowder itself comes together essentially in one pot. You’ll cook down some shallots and fennel, then add a bit of heat with some red chile peppers. Fresh corn and russet potatoes make up the base of the chowder, with a couple of cloves of garlic adding even more flavor.
After simmering and adding a splash of cream, you’ll transfer half of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth. This helps thicken the chowder, while the other half adds texture and body. The key is to taste it while it’s on the stove so you can add just the right amount of salt to your liking. The salt will bring out all of the simple flavors and make for a really tasty corn chowder.
Along with the heirloom cherry tomato topping, I like to finish the soup with some more freshly cracked black pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil. Eat this for lunch or a light dinner (maybe with a sweet plum galette as dessert), and you’ve got yourself a lovely little seasonal meal.Print
Corn Chowder with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
simple corn chowder with an heirloom cherry tomato topping
- olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 2 red fresno chile peppers, seeded and minced
- 6 ears corn, husked
- 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 qt water (or 4 cups)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup halved heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly shaved
- 1 palmful fennel fronds*
- Heat a large, heavy bottom pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the shallots and fennel. Sauté for a few minutes until tender and slightly caramelized. Add the chile peppers. Cook for another minute or so.
- Cut the kernels off the cobs of corn (you should have about 1 ½ lbs of kernels; reserve 2 of the cobs). Add the corn to the pot. Cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the potatoes and garlic. Season the mixture with a generous amount of salt and black pepper.
- Add the water to the pot, along with the 2 cobs. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Simmer for about 12-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the cobs and discard.
- Stir in the heavy cream and let heat through. Transfer half of the mixture (solids and liquid) to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the blended mixture back to the pot and stir to combine.
- Taste the chowder and season with salt as needed. Ladle the chowder into bowls. Garnish with the heirloom cherry tomato mixture, more freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
- Combine the cherry tomatoes, scallions, radishes, and fennel fronds in a small bowl.
- Season with a pinch of salt and mix well. Set aside until the chowder is ready.
*Fennel fronds are the thin, lacy fronds that grow on the fennel stalks. You can use them just like herbs. Just simply pick them off the stalks and save them for the topping.